Team news ahead of the weekend, especially Mark Noble?
Mark got a knock on his knee, it is nothing serious but he couldn’t play against Huddersfield and he trained today individually. It is much better so nothing serious, but it is very difficult for him to face West Brom. Most definitely not, maybe for Bolton game. So it is nothing serious, he felt a little ligaments in his knee.
So far so good on any one else. There were a few knocks and bruises but they should all be fit apart from Edimilson Fernandes and Manuel Lanzini who weren’t there on Monday. Fernandes is looking like he will start training in a couple of days and Lanzini, hopefully one week, maybe two weeks, but he is running, training with the ball, so far so good.
There is a sense of change in training according to Winston Reid, have you noticed that?
It was important for us to win the game, but we have to continue like this. As I told the players this morning, we have a small meeting, do not think for one second that now we beat Huddersfield, we can relax.
We have to build on this, we beat them OK, but we also beat them in training on Saturday and Sunday as well as Monday at the stadium when there was fiery training. We have to produce that more or less every day, then tomorrow and only then will we be in a situation to get something out of Saturday’s or any other game.
Why did it take this long for the hunger to arrive?
It is not black and white, it’s not that it hasn’t been there. You are right, we are not the only club like that, not giving their best until their backs are to the wall. It is a question mark. That is the difference between good and great players, they have that and do it every day, move the boundaries as an individual.
It is down to me and to them. To keep them in that zone, not to fly too high or not to be big headed. It is a massive part of every managers job, but it is also down to them to be like that. I cant control what they do outside of training, I am talking now in general. They are mature people, they are well paid, in a privileged position that most normal people would swap and are dreaming of so they should respect the job.
Relations were strained between you and the board – is that better?
What do you mean by strained? I speak to Mr Sullivan after every game and it is like that since I joined two years ago. Of course, after good runs or a win it is like more relaxed talk, lets say. Although so far, I have never had kind of a hectic talk or like a heavy talk, you know what I mean? It was always polite and in the zone.
Was it on Monday?
It was a good one, yes. We won the game, it was important and he was also happy with our performance. Maybe you should call him and ask him how he felt.
You were bullish last week in your interview…
I was not bullish at all, why don;t you ask me how I was bullish? I don’t know. I was not at all, I only explained the situation that he put me in to. I praised him, the club, the deals we done and I meant it. I explained Carvalho and why it didn’t happen. OK it was the money was too big and I wanted to explain the situation with the two players that I didn’t want. I was not bullish at all.
The transfer window is now closed. Whether we were close or not was totally irrelevant.
How big a boost has Andy Carroll given you?
He is a player that can lift the whole team, we have been saying that for two years now. I have said is a hundred times, now 101, he is the player everyone knows, the crowd knows, the opponent knows, you cannot ignore.
Whether you are playing with him or against him. You always know what he is going to give you and what are you doing to get from him. It is great to have him back, now the question, the million dollar one, is how we are going to manage to keep him fit for the rest if the season and his career.
Alan Pardew’s no training for Carroll comments
That is impossible. We have to make a balance, Alan Pardew definitely didn’t mean for him not to train, he wanted to show there are some players that you have to find a special balance, a treatment or management for them to be available for games but that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to train the whole week because then most likely, he will get injured at the game.
On the other hand you can treat him like a 20 year old who can train six hours a day like Rice, Quina, whatever, you have to find the balance. He ends some days off but on those days he should use them to work on staying the gym and that, it is also training. That is what we are doing now with him and we hope it will last.
Three games in a week, the momentum is with you now?
We have to use it, yes. We are in a position that we didn’t like, now we have won one game and we are talking before the game that what we needed to get a boost was that, we done that so I am now expecting us, with the greatest respect to the opponents, to push on. The pressure on us is a bit less, the confidence is back, lets use it.
Marco Asensio and his shaving incident
I am sure you know more about that than me.
It’s nothing new, the players doing that.
Do you do it?
Do I look like I did it? It’s nothing new. It’s like the last 10, 15 years its an excuse. They do it for the massages and things like that. Modern times.
How crucial is that confidence you now have?
It is crucial, even yesterday a few managers were talking about it in the Champions league, how it affects them. Confidence comes and goes, class is permanent.
Confidence can vary. It is important like in any job so now, as I just said, we should have it back. If that was one of the reasons then there is no bigger motivation than that for Saturday.
Let’s build on that and try to produce the same on Saturday, so its not only the games but we have better training too. It is like a chain you know, many good things are more positive now.
You said at training, they had fire before the game on Monday, how do you make sure they keep that?
By talking to them, showing them, having individual talks, those kind of things, it’s the only way. We have been waiting for this and now we don’t want to lose it.
Frank de Boer – you said it played on your mind?
I didn’t say that. Someone asked me do I feel pressure then yes, of course, he was the example but I didn’t think about him. I don’t need or didn’t need him to know the mechanism , or the Marco Asensio thing to know the players shave their legs, I see it every day.
What about Frank de Boer again? No, I said after the game I don’t look at my job from that perpestcive. I was happy, I am still happy as I feel good when we win. I saw the response from my team, the energy, the performance, it wasn’t a nice game of football for neutrals for example but it was a proper professional game an they executed the plan we had.
I saw dominance from the start and we were rewarded with a little but of luck for the first goal.
You got a clean sheet to boot as well…
We deserved it, it was a good game for us to build on. Not only the win but clean sheet and I am not talking just Joe Hart but about the defence and the whole team.
You cant say we were lucky, they had one chance towards the end of the game and that was it, we were really good in that department. Those three points we can use it to build on that.
Does Arnautovic’s return give you a selection headache?
It does give me a selection headache. He was frustrated, I was angry and frustrated but now he is back and has served the ban and he will be in the squad for the game, it is good to have him back.
West Brom, surprised a few people?
Well, no. They had a good start, not only start but for a long time they were good last season and were the first ones to secure their status from not the big teams. They started well but the last couple of games of course they lost and drew they won the first two with typical results.
It is not a big surprise, they got some good players, they invested again and they are always a very hard team to beat.