it is. The happiness that playing well and being successful brings, even just in your personal life, is incredible. Everything in life just seems to flow better when you’re in the team and doing well.
United’s defensive options look far better now and that increases competition for places. Is that something you welcome?
Yes. Even at the start of the season there were occasions when myself and Rio were playing most of the games when we had a lot of injuries. It’s good to have the other lads back. It’s not only competition for places, it’s more that there are so many games. It’s almost impossible to play every single game. You’d end up forcing injuries upon yourself by placing those demands on your body. It would take the sharpness out of your game too. The manager is good at taking care of that, but with some of the defenders being injured he hasn’t been able to do it that much. We definitely see it as a benefit having everyone back fit. It strengthens the squad and provides competition so that everyone is playing at the optimum level. I’m sure the manager is pleased with that.
Some of the football has been great to watch this season – as a defender, what’s it like playing in a team that likes to attack?
Well, the attackers wouldn’t score all these goals if it wasn’t for the defenders playing nice little passes right into their feet! [laughs] But the attacking play we produce is fantastic. We work on it a lot in training. We’ve got so many players that can change games and you only have to look at our bench: most of the players would start in other sides. That gives us great confidence. It’s maybe to the detriment of our clean sheet record, it’s just that we play such attacking football and everyone wants to get involved. We have maybe taken our eye off the ball with doing the basics defending as a team and having a good team shape. When it comes to the big games we definitely have that nailed on. Saying that,