Monday, June 26, 2017

Can struggled to ignore Liverpool critics during dry January

SoccerNews in English Premier League 15 Feb 2017

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Emre Can concedes it was difficult for Liverpool to avoid the criticism thrown their way during a poor January.

The Reds won just one of their eight matches in all competitions last month, that coming in an FA Cup third-round replay against Plymouth Argyle.

That run saw Liverpool exit both domestic cup competitions, while their hopes of challenging for the Premier League title have severely dwindled.

February did not start much better as they were beaten at lowly Hull City, but Liverpool finally stopped the rot with a 2-0 win over top-four rivals Tottenham on Saturday.

Midfielder Can says the players have been doing their best to ignore their critics, but admits that has not always been possible.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, he said: “It’s not easy to ignore what people are saying because you naturally tend to read the newspapers and speak to friends and a lot of people in the city.

“Of course they want to talk about football. It’s not easy to ignore, but we have to try and do that because it’s the best way to focus on the games ahead.

“The most important thing is we have to stick together. When we have good performances we stick together and we must do the same when we have bad performances.”

Adam Lallana stated this week that captain Jordan Henderson stepped in to organise a team meeting to address their poor form and Can revealed that manager Jurgen Klopp has been doing similar.

“He is a very positive guy and has been encouraging us and trying to help us have a positive frame of mind so that everybody believes and thinks positively again,” he added.

“We have had a lot of meetings and he tries to motivate us because he also knows that we cannot forget the good times we have had this season.

“We are fifth in the league – one point off fourth – which is not too bad in a strong league.

“We know how quickly things can turn around in football. We have to stay together, be one team and look forward.

“Of course, after we had so many good times in the first half of the season, nobody thought that we would have a spell [like we had]. I think we can learn a lot from the past month and come back stronger.

“[The target has] always been to finish in the top four of the Premier League as we want to play in the Champions League next year. When you play for Liverpool, playing in the Champions League is always the target.”

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