I believe the simple differences in the last four games have been confidence and a stronger mentality.
The major key to success this season is simply keeping that same mentality. We have the players capable of doing damage in this league, we have the best manager – it really is in our hands.
Matt Ritchie has been a fine example since day one; he plays with a purpose yet a calmness. He’s not afraid of making a mistake and that is what the rest of the players seemed to be riddled with at the start of the season; fear of making a mistake.
As I’ve said before, this actually isn’t life or death and when the shackles come off – in the mind that is – we’ll win a large proportion of games.
We also at the start of the season had Daryl Janmaat in the team, choosing on his own terms when he could be bothered to stop a cross. I said from the start of the season he needed to be shipped out ASAP. Vurnon Anita has done a fine job in his absence and whatever you think of him he sticks to his job as best as possible.
In Diame we have a better player than Sissoko and it was great to see Lascelles back to his best against Brighton. He’s going to have ups and downs – he’s a young player – but his attitude is fantastic and in Benitez we have a manager who will look after him and, as already shown, take him out of the team if it’s the best thing to do.
I have also said all along that if we show fear then yes, we will be seen as a scalp to a motivated opposition, but if we show a dominant and confident attitude we will be marked down as a game to write off by the opposition. That attitude isn’t about putting on a show every game – it’s about playing without fear and letting the opposition know they’re going to have to work bloody hard to get anything. That perception is in our hands.
I hope we have collected another three points at Derby by the end of today but if not, we should be turning up to QPR for the next game with an almost how-dare-they arrogance at not doing so and dominating that Loftus Road pitch & their players, akin to a dog taking a pi** to mark its territory.