We have just one more game left as we stumble and bumble into the suddenly quite welcome World Cup break, though it’s another tough one, away to high-flying Newcastle United. The trip to St James’ Park will complete this absolute murderer’s row of fixtures this week, against each of the current top three in the Premier League — the level where we want to be, but the level where we’re cleary not.
Injuries certainly have played a massive role in dropping our levels, and hopefully that situation will improve markedly after the break. We do get Jorginho back after he missed Wednesday’s game, but all the others who have been out for weeks if not months, remain out.
“Jorgi trained today, and providing there is no reaction, he should be in the squad. Nothing else to report in terms of players returning.”
But of course it’s not just the injuries, with new-ish head coach Graham Potter yet to come to grips with the schedule, the pressures, or the squad in general. It’s been a harsh learning process for him and the club, but all we can really do now is trust in that process and hope that it doesn’t drag on for too long before showing some actual signs of progress.
“I thought we played well against Man City, but it’s always a process. We are finding out what the players can do, what they are comfortable doing, where their strengths are, and how we can balance the team. I’m pretty sure there will be loads of things that enter the head as we reflect. We need that time as we’ve been in that period of going game to game and trying to prepare the time.
“In the six weeks since the international break, it’s been incredibly intense and incredibly challenging. [...] I’ve come from Brighton, where everything was pretty much organised over a three-year period and had similar pain that you go through. I ended up here pretty quickly, and you are into the washing machine in terms of the games and the turnaround. You have to deal with all that is going on and the amount of matches you play.”
“[We] need to think about what’s happened and what we need to do to improve. [...] There is [no] simple solution [but] the team can function better, and that is where my focus is.”
What we need to improve? What don’t we need to improve!?
Still, we can only take it one day, one session, one game at a time, so maybe we can find something to feel good about on Saturday.
“That’s what we will be trying to do, of course. Everybody will feel better if we can get the three points, but we know Newcastle will be fighting for them as well. It will be an exciting game, a tough match, but we will try our best.”
-Graham Potter; source: Football.London
Here’s to trying our best and getting that participation ribbon.