Since my last notes we have managed to get ourselves into the FA Cup final after beating Watford at Wembley two weeks ago in what was a memorable afternoon for everyone involved.
It was a huge game in the context of our season and it was great to come away with a victory, but for me more important than that was the performance which was very impressive.
We knew what was at stake and we tried to block it out as much as we could. In a situation like that you just have to try ever so hard to concentrate on the game despite the carnival atmosphere you’re playing in, but on the flip side I know some of the lads take it in and use it as motivation.
It was great to be back at Wembley and having played there before that little bit of experience of playing in such a special place definitely helped us out, as sometimes having one more match there than your opponent can give you a slight edge.
Having my family there helped spur me on too, and then there was the support we got from you guys in the stands. To be honest we should have expected nothing less, and some of the lads admitted after the game that they were stunned to hear something like that.
They were delighted to play in such an incredible atmosphere and we were quick to point out that most of the noise was coming from our fans. That is a real indication of what it’s been like to play in front of you guys for such a long time.
Now that we’ve reached the final, it’ll be great to have the opportunity to play for a big trophy at the end of the season. It’s still a while away but it’ll be very special - there’s so much history behind the FA Cup and we all know it’s a big deal for the football club.
However the focus has quickly returned to the league and we have to maintain that for the next week or so.
We still have a couple of games to go and won’t allow ourselves to get too carried away regarding the final until the Premier League is done.
They’re big games and starting against Stoke City we want to get some momentum going into the final, but more importantly we want to put on a performance in front of our own fans in the last home game of the season. It’s always nice to win the final game of the campaign in front of our own fans and give you something to enjoy going into the summer.
Speaking of the summer, straight after the FA Cup final I have to meet up with the national team for some friendlies, including one against England at Sunderland and two others over in Australia, so it probably works out well for me that we’ve had an extra week added onto our season.
I’ll be with the group for just over two weeks and then I’ll finally get a little bit of downtime after a long season, but I’m not thinking about that too much just yet as there’s plenty to look forward to in the weeks ahead.