The first time I met a player at the start of this season was during a warm-up.
The team was trying to get their nerves back after the first game against Middlesbrough.
They were in the locker room and it was about 10.30am.
There were only two minutes left and they were all jogging through the training ground.
“I’m so glad we’ve got you in the team,” the coach said.
The squad started playing football and it went well.
They won the game 3-1.
They got their morale up and that is when things started to go wrong.
We went to the post-match press conference and they had asked the press for some questions, which they had to do at that time of the game.
We asked about the captain, which we didn’t want to ask.
So we just said we have a new captain in the squad.
“Well, what’s your new captain’s name?” they asked.
We told them we have no idea.
“It’s not his name, you just need to be quiet,” I said.
And that was that.
“The rest of you, keep quiet, you’re not going to ask anything.”
After that game, I would always think of the way the team had been playing in the past week, and I would tell myself, “If you can keep playing like that, they’re going to come out and play really well.”
That was the message I gave to the team that day.
When you are doing that, you can do it.
You have to be disciplined.
I always believed it would happen, and it did.
It’s a good way to get things done.
I didn’t get too caught up in the way they played in the first half of the season, but I do think you can learn from that.
We are still trying to fix things.
I want to get the best out of our players.
That’s the message, but you can’t control things.
They have to improve.
It took a lot of hard work to get there.
They played some good football, but they needed to improve on their defence, on their transition and on their attacking game.
That is what I would have liked to see them do in the last week of the campaign.
I would like to see the same in the next game against Tottenham, when they come into the stadium and have to play well.
We have got to be better defensively.
It was a difficult match to watch.
The first half was very, very tight.
They scored a lot more goals than we did.
When the second half started, they were able to score some goals, but it was not enough.
The way they were playing is why they are getting the results they are.
I’ve watched them for three years now.
I am not blaming anyone.
I have played against them many times, and they have been one of the best teams in the league, so I am sure that we can improve in a few games.
There was a good message I sent to the squad: Keep playing like you are supposed to, and that’s all you need.
But there was still a lot to do, and we will be working very hard.
What will we learn from this game?
I think we learned that we need to do better in every area.
We know it is not always going to be perfect, but we have got a long way to go.
If we can keep improving and get some good performances out of the team, I think it is a very good sign.
What can we expect from Liverpool?
I do not know if it is going to work.
It is not the sort of game you want to play against.
I think they will try to get back into the game against us and I do hope that it does.
We want to keep working hard and playing the best we can.
We need to get our best performance against them.
It will be a tough match, but Liverpool are very good.
I just hope we can give them some problems, but at the end of the day, we are Liverpool and we want to win.