Roy Hodgson can reflect on a promising period of late which apart from a home win against Stoke City a fortnight ago, the side have also been unbeaten against Everton, Brighton and West Bromwich Albion, moving from the foot of the table to 18th place.
That run may have lifted the early season negative feelings as to what the future could have held for the club but Hodgson is quick to stress that it is not a short term lift that is needed but building on the encouraging results of late is only the start of his long term plans.
“We are looking longer term and know that to get away from the relegation zone we have got to get closer to the middle of the table and we are quite a long way from that at the moment. I am not dismissing the physiological value moving off the bottom of the table brings but I have got to say at the moment our task is really to make certain that in every game we play we are capable of taking something from it, ideally three points but if not then we must try and make certain we take one."
This weekend the visitors to Selhurst Park, Bournemouth, are one of those sides in and around Hodgson’s side in the table and a win would put them just a couple of points behind The Cherries but his experience shines through when he was asked at his pre-match press conference about his team being the one seen by others as the ones to watch and just carry on with what they have shown they are good at.
“It doesn’t take long before that momentum is lost, it is hard to keep that in the Premier League especially when you are at the bottom of the table, because it is hard enough when you are at the other end of the table. People may get bored listening to it but it is quite simply a case of not losing the opportunity of working at your game on the training field, not losing the team spirit within our group and making certain you are good at bouncing back after poor results. Everyone can bounce on when things are going well but not every team can come back from a disappointment.”
A capacity crowd will pack into the stadium for the game against Eddie Howe’s side and following the recent unbeaten run the expectancy level is continuing to rise but Hodgson is not one to shy away from the pressure that the desire to win of everyone connected with the club brings when the first whistle of the afternoon goes.
“We are desperate to give the fans what their attendance and support merits, we all have that pressure to do well and I cannot imagine I would go into any of our remaining games not feeling that pressure to get a result and I hope that transfers to the players as well because the moment we take our foot very slightly off the gas we will be going backwards. I don’t think it is fair to say that because we have had a couple of results we do not feel the pressure but I hope there will be a day when I can go into a game without any because that will be the time we are so far away from the relegation zone that we can’t possibly get relegated."