We got a great result against Manchester City at Maine Road and then battled away to a draw with Charlton at the Lane but other than that we’ve put ourselves right under pressure with our performances since our last match here.
Getting beaten at Newcastle and losing twice at Southampton has knocked us back quite a few steps just when we thought we were moving in the right direction for a strong push towards the end of the season.
As well as that, it was a major blow going out of the FA Cup too. I think I can safely say for the rest of the team that we were embarrassed by the performance we put on last Saturday. As a player, you probably get maybe 10 chances in your career — sometimes more if you’re lucky — to reach the FA Cup Final.
The game against Southampton was one of those chances but we didn’t even turn up. It was a waste of an opportunity for all of us.
Having said that, these are games that we now have to put behind us. We’re looking to get into Europe through our league position, we’ve been training for that for the past two years and that continues to be our aim for the rest of this season.
We’ve definitely got the quality of players and strength in depth to achieve that, it’s a challenge that hasn’t changed from the beginning of this campaign.
Our bid to fulfil that aim continues today, it will be a difficult game but they are all tough at the moment. We must make sure we are ready for it.
Enjoy the game.
People often talk about Christmas periods making or breaking a campaign, but our festive run of games certainly hasn’t helped us at all in what we are about and what we are trying to achieve this season.