I think from our point view we were just looking at it as a really important game for us. To go to Manchester City isn’t easy, they have got a great record there, but full credit to our players for getting the right result.
On the final day of last season with the title at stake, you played against Saturday’s opponents Sunderland. What was that whole experience like?
It was crazy to be part of it. You went from high to low in the space of about ten seconds. We thought we’d done it and then we hadn’t. But I think we’ve bounced back from that, got over it and started the season really well – albeit with a few hiccups here and there – and now we’re in a strong position.
Back in May the manager spoke passionately, urging the young players to remember the experience. Has that stayed with you?
It was a miserable afternoon, as you can imagine, but the manager just told us: ‘Always remember this experience and don’t let it happen again’. You have to learn from it, even though it hurt at the time. It’s a great lesson and a harsh learning curve but all you can do is go out and try and win the next one. That’s what the players at this club have always done and that’s what we’re trying to do this season.
How frustrating was it that your start to the season was interrupted by injuries – particularly with opportunities there with other defenders out too…
I was tearing my hair out, it was so frustrating. I just wanted to be out there playing, but I couldn’t. You have to just accept that injuries are part of football though. Every player gets injuries and you need to be patient, recover and know that you can come back stronger. But it was frustrating that I got back from one injury and then on my first or second day back in training I did my knee. I thought I’d hit rock-bottom. It’s a horrible feeling being injured and watching the lads go out and play when you’re in the changing room knowing that you’re not a part of it all.
How did you remain positive – through your own mental strength or from the support around you?
It’s a bit of both. The medical staff here are brilliant and you just have to put the frustration out of your mind and believe that you’re going to come back and be stronger because of it. You have your ups and downs but it’s amazing how quickly