Roy Hodgson leads his side into the final nine games of the campaign believing that level heads are needed by all, as the business end of the season is set to see many twists and turns before the final placings are revealed in May.
“This is going to be a battle which I think will go very close to the end of the season. If you are going to be jubilant every time you get to 17th place then you are then going to be devastated every time you drop into 18th place, you are going to ride a rollercoaster. We know what we have got to do, we know how many games we have left to play and what sort of attitude we have got to maintain if we are to have a chance of being one of the teams to survive." said Hodgson at the end of a week which has seen his side drop into the bottom three.
Following on from two closely fought encounters with Tottenham and Manchester United, it’s now a trip to Chelsea but Hodgson doesn’t feel the quality of opposition affects the level of performances of his players as he demands the same from his squad in every match.
“There’s been very few games where I felt the performances have dropped to a level that I have not been satisfied with. The energy, discipline and determination which we were able to bring in these last two games I think we will be able to bring to the next 9 games as well.”
After their success against The Blues in October the visitors have the chance to complete the double over the neighbours in this London derby but Hodgson doesn’t think the early season meeting will have much bearing on the outcome in a game which he knows the result, whichever way it goes, will not be the conclusion of his sides season.
“We will be doing our utmost to get something against Chelsea, we were fortunate enough to beat them earlier in the season but that means nothing. We need to produce the sort of performances that we have had in the last two games against similar quality opposition and maybe hope if we do, that we won’t suffer having to concede those last minute goals which see the result you think you might have been worthy of, thanks to your fighting performance, taken away from you in that last minute.
“It’s all about performance and attitude, linked to our desire to get out of this situation. We mustn’t fall into the trap that if we get a positive result against Chelsea, thinking everything is all hunky dory because that would be very dangerous.”