The squad has returned to London following this week’s training camp and team bonding exercise in Barcelona ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round tie at Colchester United.
An important Premier League double-header against Norwich City and Watford follows next week and, with our two-legged Europa League round of 32 tie against Fiorentina also to come next month, goalkeeper Hugo feels the positive feeling reverberating around the squad – which has been clearly in evidence in Spain over the last few days – stands us in very good stead as we look to enjoy success on the pitch.
“Team spirit is one of the key things for the next three or four months – we have to do it all together,” said our French international captain.
“We have to push ourselves together. Spirit is so important in football because it’s a collective sport and of course we need more – we need fitness, tactics and technique – but it’s true that it’s much easier when the spirit is great.
“It’s been good to spend time all together in Barcelona this week. We have a very clean squad full of nice people and I join the people who say that we are like a family!
“Being a footballer is fantastic but it’s even more fantastic when it’s like this because every day is a good day to share and you’re happy to go to work and put the effort in to win.
“We always want to improve and to develop our mentality to become a winning team. The road is still long but we feel we are improving all together and we are starting to be very hungry for the next few months and next few years.
“The team is young but we are nearly at the level to be ready to compete (for trophies). It’s just a matter of time but, with this mentality and this atmosphere, things are improving quicker than normal.”
While the hard work has continued in the Spanish sunshine this week, Hugo says he’s really enjoyed the chance to get away with his team-mates ahead of our latest cup test at Colchester’s Weston Homes Community Stadium on Saturday.
“It’s been great and exactly what the staff and manager expected from these few days,” he added. “We’ve spent time all together breaking up the routine and it was perfect. The weather was so nice, we’ve trained hard as well and we’ve had free time to share with our team-mates, so it’s been good.
“Now we have Colchester and everyone knows about cup competitions – to keep going you need to be great and be lucky with the draw.
“It’s a long way but you need spirit for that. There is still the FA Cup, the Premier League and the Europa League which are all important for the team and we will see at the end where we’ll be.”