Deeney: “The Atmosphere Has Gone Through The Roof”
By Kevin Affleck
Troy Deeney believes the team's turnaround has been brewing for weeks now and can be traced back to a performance against another side from the Midlands.
Hayden Mullins and Graham Stack took the team against high-riding Leicester and the captain saw enough that night to suggest there was enough about the group and enough quality in the ranks to navigate a way out of trouble. Nigel Pearson and Craig Shakespeare have since built on it, taking it to the next level, harvesting seven points in six days when the previous four months had yielded only nine.
“It was a statement month,” said the captain on Added Time. “The change started with Hayden and Stacky coming in. You looked at the 2-0 defeat at Leicester and I thought we were organised, it was a proper team performance. We were unlucky. We played Palace here and should have won.
“The gaffer then came in and we produced our best performance of the season at Liverpool. We lost 2-0 but we should have won. We then beat Manchester United, drew with Sheffield United, who are flying, and then you get this win today. When other teams are dropping like stones, we have that forward momentum and are chasing them down. Seven points from the week is massive.”
Pearson won't let anyone get carried away with these three positive results in a week. He'll be ramming home the point in training that it's just the start and there is a lot of work still to be done.
“The gaffer has been great, always level,” said Deeney. “He doesn't get too carried away. He's the calm one, steadying the ship. He's hammered me a few times. It's been golden. People don't realise, when you are captain you do what you are told. When someone treats you like a man and with respect, you reciprocate and the gaffer has done that.
“He handled me having a baby... and for the first time in eight years I have been treated like a proper man [by giving me two days off]. He trusted me to look after myself and not abuse my body. I'm not even fit yet, that's the best part.”
Deeney has three goals in two home games and not many in the history of this club get the fans going like he does. The supporters feed off his all-action approach and that has been missed during his injury lay-off.
“You can't expect fans to pay their hard-earned money and come here and be great all the time when we lose,” he said. “They've got a right to hammer us when we have been bad. We have been bad at times but it's up to the players to create the atmosphere. The fans want to see hard work and people fighting for the shirt. If you chase a ball down, if you win a tackle you weren't meant to or win a header, it gets the crowd involved.
“They've seen that in the last few weeks and the atmosphere has gone through the roof. We need to make this a fortress and a hard place to play. We've got a massive foundation [to build on] and we've still got Cleverley and Welbeck, players of this nature, to come back. We are a proper outfit.”