What do you think is the reason for this great run?
If it was only so simple to name a reason you’d never lose! It’s helped that we’ve begun to get a steady team and that’s put a bit of consistency in our game. We’re full of confidence, and the players seem to be working hard for each other and the team spirit is really great. It all helps.
You’ve had a couple of false starts in the Premier League since you moved from Cardiff. Do you think you’re adapting to it now?
I hope so. You never know. I was disappointed to get injured in the second game this season and missed eight, but I seem to have come back stronger, and the team has started winning. That’s made it easy for me to come back and be part of it. We’ve got some good wins at home and good points on our travels.
How big a step is it from the Championship?
It’s huge, the gulf in class is there for everyone to see. You have to be on the top of your game week in and week out, because of the top players you play against. Last year I think we were a little bit sloppy at times, and we could get away with an average performance and still nick a win, but in this division you have got to have 11 players on their game otherwise you are going to get turned over and made to look stupid.
That sounds as if it’s as much in the mind as the feet?
Yeah, I think you’re right. In general you have to have the attitude to be spot on every day. It’s not just in matches, but in training too that the standards are higher. You are coming across world class players week in and week out. Against some of the bigger boys you can be on the top of your game and you know you still need a bit of luck as well. We seem to be getting that at the moment
There wasn’t too much luck about the goal you scored at Anfield, was there?
Yeah, at the time all you think about is we didn’t go on to win, but I suppose I can look back and enjoy that because it was a good one – especially as a way to get off the mark after coming back from injury. In the end as a striker, though, you take any goal, whether it’s from 30 yards like that or three, it doesn’t matter, just hit that net!
Tell us about Christian Benitez. He’s been your team’s big new discovery.
He’s a big star at home in Ecuador, and he’s doing really well for us, although it’s difficult for him, not only coming in to a new team but he’s got to learn a new language, and get used to the pace of English football. He’s trying but he doesn’t speak a word of English at the moment. Even so we seem to have got a bit of a partnership going, and we are making it hard for defenders to play against us.
So how does that happen if you can’t talk to each other?
It just does. Everybody says football is a universal language and they are probably right. We’ve sort of made it work, it’s a matter of playing together and doing it in training too. I think he’s done alright, a few more goals would help, but I think as we keep improving as a team we’ll create more chances and that will definitely come for him.
What words have you tried to teach him? Tell us the clean ones!
I think “Defend” is probably the most important one! I think tracking back and helping is the one thing that’s most different of all in the English game to any other country. He’s learning, though.
You signed a new five-year contract in the summer?
Yeah, that was great for me, and gave me a bit more stability. I was more than happy to sign it. It’s a big boost to your confidence to learn the club has that much faith in you
Is that all the more so because it was Steve Bruce who signed you first of all?
Definitely. When Alex McLeish came in he brought some of his own players, but he’s also still stuck with some of the ones who were here, and he’s kept playing me, so I thank the gaffer for that and it’s up to me to show him he was right
What’s he like to work for?
Very good, he’s well respected in the game and you can see why. He’s won things in Scotland and worked at international level, and that experience means he’s very calm and points things out that help you. I think he’s created a good mix of experience and hungry players with quality, certainly a better squad than last time we were in the Premier League.
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