First Team 2 weeks ago

Deeney: “I'm Ready For When The Gaffer Thinks It's Right”

By Kevin Affleck

Quique Sánchez Flores conceded it was asking a lot of Troy Deeney to perform one of his herculean performances so early in his comeback when he charged onto the field against Burnley.

The captain has played no part in the last 13 games following surgery to his right knee, but he was summoned from the bench 11 minutes after half-time against Burnley. The Head Coach turned to his leader three minutes after Chris Wood scored as he needed a route back into a key match that was starting to slip away.

“Deeney wasn't lucky today,” said Sánchez Flores. “We had the idea to put him on in the first ten minutes [of the second half] but in six minutes we had conceded a goal. It's not the same to go on when it's 0-0. It's not helping the situation for Deeney. He is trying but he is still far from a good performance [because has been out for so long].”

The 31-year-old striker has worked his socks off to get back slightly ahead of schedule, turning in punishing sessions in the gym and often another session when he gets home with his own personal trainer. Now the target is to regain his match sharpness.

“I'm in a good spot,” he said in his programme notes. “Two more solid weeks of work in the bank; extra training, strength work and a part in a game with the 23s. You can put yourselves in specific positions when you are working with the physio guys, but I've been able to tick off a lot of mental boxes recently because I've been in for challenges without a comfortable body shape, going for loose balls, that sort of stuff. The only thing left is game minutes which has to be on the job, there's no way round that. There's no more preparation you can do.

“I said I'm in a good spot, and I I think that's down to being able to talk a lot of things through. At the start of the rehab my knee was clicking a little bit, but a bit of reassurance here and there lets you realise that you can trust the process and get on with your work. I'm ready for when the gaffer thinks it's right I can help the team.”

First Team 2 weeks ago

Sánchez Flores: “If We Believe, We Can Do This Together”

By Kevin Affleck

Head Coach Quique Sánchez Flores has vowed to remain on an even keel, believing his team had not cracked it by beating Norwich and that it isn't the end of the road either after the team lost at home to Burnley.

The Golden Boys were three points from safety before the weekend and that's still the case despite finishing empty handed from a game everyone had targeted something tangible from. There are 25 games left and 75 points to play for.

"When we won at Norwich, not everything was solved," said the Head Coach yesterday. "When we lost today, it doesn't decide anything either. After defeat not everything is lost. It is a race and it's about how we can improve. It's about belief, it's about fight and if we believe, we can do this together. You have to be ready to fight and we are still ready to fight. To keep believing is really important and that is what we will do."

Sánchez Flores remains optimistic and knows how quickly things can change in this beautiful game.

"Football is unbelievable," he said. "Norwich lost 2-0 with us and now today they win at Everton. I don't have any doubt about the squad. I believe 100 per cent in them. What I know since the first day is that it's difficult to change so quick."

The Head Coach was pleased with how his side performed for 50 minutes and they should at least have been a goal in front. Even Sean Dyche admitted afterwards it was a game of two halves and that the scoreline flattered his side.

"It's very difficult to explain the result," said Sánchez Flores. "I don't want to talk too much as it sounds like an excuse. We were happy and positive at the start, thinking about how we have control over the opponent, how we recuperated the ball quickly, how we played close to the box and how we had the best chances in the first half. We had control in the first half but we didn't score. The spirit of the players is alive and I can see this from the performance in the first half."

Burnley then got their noses in front through Chris Wood and that knocked the stuffing out of his fragile side.

"This changed things a lot," he said. "It affected our spirit, our energy and this was difficult. The other team had more power, more confidence and the energy was negative as we deserved a goal and deserved to be ahead. When you go behind it is completely different, a completely different mentality. You need to start from zero again."