I think it’s very simple. I think it was a bad football game to be far, if you’ve seen our dressing room after the game they are very disappointed and angry. It just shows how the game meant to us, that we wanted to win. I don’t think we hit our highest performance level and on top of that, we made two big mistakes with the first goal and then with the red card. On top of that, I think we were unlucky with the injury to Kristoffer Ajer, so we are 0-1 down, we’re pushing and we know there’s a good chance to get back into the game. You can just see we’re building momentum, it would have been a long 20 minutes that’s for sure.
We need to play 10 against 11, and then we score. I’m sure we would have created something with 10 against 11 and then we get the stupid red card. That’s why it’s difficult and we still get a deflection [for Leeds’ 2nd goal] and it doesn’t matter for whatever the relegation or our position or anything, but I would like to know about the second goal why it’s not offside from VAR. I ask the refs about that, so it’s not a big thing. Just for me to understand it, so fair play to Leeds, congratulations to them.
I had massive belief in this team before the season. I think we showed that we could be an asset to the Premier League, and that’s what I’m most proud of. I’m very proud of the overall performance and the way we presented ourselves as players and as a team. Of course, if you want standout moments, I have three.
Arsenal [2-0 win on opening day], Chelsea [at Stamford Bridge], and then in December where we beat Watford [2-1] we had so many injuries and we had to play players out of position. Vitaly [Janelt] played left centre back from the start of the game, going 0-1 down and the way we just fighting our way back into the game, and equalising in the 82nd minute or something like that, but still go for the kill and the win in the end shows, for me, everything about this team.
Push for Europe in 2022/23?
I think that we have done remarkable. I am very very respectful about this league – I don’t believe in second season syndrome or that narrative. That said, I know that we can get relegated next season but I also know that we can come 7th. Of course, we want to add layers and we want to build, end higher and play better football – that’s the aim. Look what happens to teams when they get a lot of injuries or a little bit of bad momentum, but hopefully we’ll avoid that and we can build.
Bridging the gap
I agree. I think the difference has been very small this season [between 8th and 14th], but I think it can go both ways. I also think to the bottom is that the margins are so small you can end down there, but I don’t think the margins are so small that you can go higher and of course, we would like to push and end as high as possible, and develop the Club. That’s what we are going for, but you never know.