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Sunday, 7 May 2017

N'Koudou - I wasn’t strong enough mentally

N'Koudou understands he has been the problem

Player after player has spoken about mentality this season yet still some supporters can't understand it is not just the basis that creates a players skill in the first place, but what keeps talking them to the next level. With the right mentality Cristiano Ronaldo would not have put in the work he did at Manchester United and Gareth Bale wouldn't have improved himself like he did at Tottenham.

Harry Kane admits he wouldn't be the player he is now without his mental attitude, it has been a hard slog to get where he is.

Players don't just suddenly wake up one day and there is a new piece of skill in their repertoire, they have to have the mental determination to knuckle down and learn something new, to experiment, not just go through the steps and do what they always do, as Mousa Dembele used to do.

It is to Dembele that Georges-Kevin N'Koudou has turned to for advice as well as his family he told the Evening Standard.

“I spoke about it with my family. I learnt what I was missing. I wasn’t strong enough mentally. I was nearly like a child, in a cocoon. I had it easy. 
“I found a lot of answers here, especially thanks to Mousa Dembélé, who told me: ‘You have the talent, you have everything, but you need to work hard here’. 
“When I dribble past someone, he didn’t cheer, but when I pressed hard, he would tell me ‘That’s it, that’s good!’ 
“And when the best player you’ve played with, a guy who has everything, both feet, the physicality, the technique, tells you that, you listen. After that, a lot of people helped me: Rose, Walker, Kane and others. And my two big brothers Moussa Sissoko and Hugo Lloris.”

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  1. Whilst I applaud Clive’s continued emphasis on players’ mental approach i.e. confidence one might approve of a similar emphasis on players’ ‘football intelligence’ i.e. making those game changing decisions.
    Maybe we had too much of the former and not enough of the latter on Friday night. Nevertheless, to say that we are all disappointed is perhaps an understatement.
    That said ‘it ain’t over till the fat lady sings’.
    Moving on, I felt at half time Poch had to step up to the plate.
    There are games when HK fails to make an impact (simply a fact but not a criticism) and recently Sonny has been ‘somewhat peripheral’ to say the least. So, here was an opportunity for VJ to take the pressure off HK and lead the line in the second half thus allowing HK to play the false N° 10 and maybe create some space for himself.
    Anyway it’s all history now and I’m looking forward to see ‘Maureen’ getting stuffed next week.

  2. I read this with great joy. It won't affect last Friday's result but it does indicate that GK now understands what it takes to compete for that slot in the team.

    He was selected for certain capabilities he already had and showed he knew how to use. Bringing those into play, along with other attributes he'll have to develop further here, is something that will make the squad stronger and give us a better chance of competing across all competitions next year.

    We're a team that will naturally struggle throughout the season with the extra competition we need to compete in. I believe that's largely why Leicester last year and Chelsea this had that little bit extra to spare. Not entirely but largely. We're still quite new to the ECL at least, and still building up the squad to cope.

    The more we bed into the position where we compete at ECL level AS WELL AS performing at our proper level in the EPL the better. Improving our squad players so that they express their full potential, rather than trying and failing and having to try again a year later, seems like very good news to me.

    Those comments from GK seem to show that may well be possible in this case after all.


  3. Substitutions.
    Putting aside ‘forced substitutions’ (injuries &/or players carded) for the moment the opportunity for a manager to influence a game during game time is clearly an opportunity that should not be wasted.
    This series of articles provides some interesting data on the timing of subs during the second half in the PL:
    I mentioned above that I felt Poch needed (as he did in the Arsenal game) to make a change at half-time my reasoning being that, if HK feels he is not seeing enough of the ball he tends to drop deeper in order to find it so nobody is leading the line which relieves the opposition CB’s of some of their defensive duties.
    The articles support the view (although by no means conclusively) that the outcome of a match is improved (especially from a losing position) if a manager makes his substitutions
    earlier than the normal (normal being an average of actual subs. during 4 seasons of the PL), that is between the 45th and 62nd minutes.



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