Is it me or are we slowly moving to a better place than we were a few weeks ago?
I have to admit I was nervous about the Burnley game partly because they’ve done so well this season with wins over the Mancs and Everton and also because it’s exactly the sort of fixture that has seen us come a cropper in previous seasons. However, regardless of what some people have said about the overall performance you can’t argue with 4-0.
All too often in football people, be they fans or chairmen, are too quick to draw conclusions and write off teams or individuals even though the season is young. Another two weeks or so and things can change. Perhaps this suits us now. As Kenny Dalglish said on the official website
“That’s all right, let them keep writing us off…….. We can achieve whatever we want to achieve. We go out in every game to achieve maximum points, or get through the cup tie, whatever is relevant. We go out on the pitch with the same determination as we have ever done to be successful. We’ve never shouted our mouth off, we’ve just got on with our work, and I’m sure that’s what the players are doing at the moment. They played very well on Saturday. Yossi Benayoun getting a hat-trick was fantastic for him and for everyone, I think it is starting to come together.”
Lets hope we take this further afield as we launch our European campaign tonight against Debreceni. For me the Champions League group stages are slowly beginning to lose their appeal. Qualifying for the knock out stages seems to be easier these days and it’s only once the group stages are out of the way that the competition hots up. It’s a long wait until February 2010.
As for tonight’s opposition quite frankly I’d never heard of them until the Champions League draw. Although it’s not something I do as a habit I looked them up on Wikipedia, sometimes a risky business when doing research. They have appeared in the Champions League (qualifiers) before and did in fact play the Mancs. Anyone thinking of travelling for the return leg should be mindful of the fact that their ground holds 10,000 and get this….
“Although the team was relegated from top flight football in 2002, they purchased the right to continue their campaign at top level from then promoted BKV Elore”
Imagine if Newcastle bunged Burnley some millions to stay up. How well would that go down? Whatever the facts, or otherwise, one should ignore that Debreceni were in the weakest Champions League pot. As Lucas commented yesterday
“If they are playing in the Champions League they will have some quality. Maybe they will know more about us than we know about them so that makes them dangerous”
“We were working hard, sending scouts and watching some Debrecen games and we have a lot of information now and we will see what the real level is on the pitch. People may say we are favourites (tonight), so we have to live up to that. We must start well in this competition.”
In the past one might have tempted to wonder if Rafa would ring some changes. However a few years ago, when he did just that we nearly failed to get through the group stage so no doubt he will guard against weakening the side too much as this is a good opportunity for us to get off to a good start. Mascherano is recovered from the injury that sidelined him Saturday so presumably he will return with Gerrard moving up field to play behind Torres. I say that but maybe Rafa is pondering his options after Gerrard’s success in that position on Saturday?
Finally congratulations to Rafa who takes the helm tonight for his 300th game. A personal milestone but let’s hope, result wise, it’s a routine one. Prediction? We’re at home and hopefully in a good mood after Burnley so 3-1.