Mamadou Sakho joined the club in the final minutes of the summer transfer window and going into the fourth month in SE25 since the permanent move he can feel a much more positive frame of mind around the squad as they prepare for the trip to West Brom this weekend.
The unbeaten run continued down on the south coast in midweek with the first point away from home this campaign and the defender believes it was a well-earned point.
“We have to be positive because we came back with a clean sheet after tough game and a close one but the whole squad worked really hard so that we didn’t concede and it was good for us all to get our first point away from home.
“Of late we have played much better after a difficult start and the group have a strong mentality so I think things will continue to improve and we can look forward to better times.”
In a busy week of top flight football it is now a match against a side who will have a familiar face in the home dugout as the midlands club appointed former Eagles manager, Alan Pardew this week but Sakho believes the side need to concentrate on what they can bring to the encounter on Saturday.
“For me it is important that we remain focused and concentrate on each match as they come along and we have taken four points from the last two games and now we have to work towards getting points from our next one at West Brom.
“Every game in the Premier League is a difficult one to play but it’s not just about them as we need to be focused and belief what we are capable of doing, so for me it is about us concentrating on our game plan and making sure we do what is needed to be done."
Pardew’s appointment may have been the news story in the build up to the game but Sakho believes the players selected by Hodgson will not have that matter at the forefront of the minds as they look for their first away win of the season.
“It could maybe help him that he knows some of the squad here but now it’s about our new manager and our players need to show our fans they are ready for this game and if we all play to our best level then we will have enough to put on a good performance.
“I believe in this group of players and know the quality we have and working under a really good manager who has shown since he has been here that his experience will be vital as he has improved the level we are playing at,” said the 27 year old as he goes into the game in confident mood.
The change in manager took place soon after the move from Liverpool and he has been impressed during his opportunity to work on the training pitch with this boss.
Hodgson has made him captain in the last couple of games in the absence of Jason Puncheon and Scott Dann but it is not a role that means any change to the defenders game once the first whistle of the game gets the proceedings underway.
“Two weeks after I joined the manager was changed, he spoke with the players when he came in and explained exactly what he wanted and now the lads understand more about what he requires. This is why of late we have been playing better and everything for me is positive. We can be optimistic because I think this is only the start of good things to come.
“Whether I am captain or not I just look to be the same player, I try to give my best and help my team-mates and finish each game ahead of the opposition. Personally I have my natural character and my job is to try and help other members of my team and try to make a positive environment because in life you can have difficult moments but you must look at the situation in the best way possible and it’s the same in football. As a player you have to show the right example and try and help everybody so we get the result we are all looking for."
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