Sears Aiming to Make it Five Wins from Five Against Fulham
Thursday, 24th Aug 2017 17:28
Freddie Sears insists he and his Town team-mates can extend their 100 per cent start to the league campaign and create their own bit of history by beating Fulham at Portman Road on Saturday.
Since turning professional in 1936 and being admitted to the Football League two years later no Town side has been able to win their first five league games of any subsequent season.
But victory over Fulham, which will make it a 15-point maximum tally going into the international break, will change all that.
Sears said: “We’ve got 12 already and before the season started we’d have probably settled for less than that from the whole of August to be honest with you. We’ve had some tough league games and we’ve won them all – but we’ve not been the best team in every game.
“We’re not getting carried away and we’re not dreaming about going all season unbeaten, but at the same time we’ve got a great opportunity to win five league games. I know it hasn’t been done before but that’s our aim, to go into the international break top of the league with five wins from five games.”
But Sears has warned that Town should dismiss the fact that Fulham, who reached the play-offs last season, have yet to win in the current campaign, their only success coming in the Carabao Cup at Wycombe Wanderers, and from their four league fixtures so far they have amassed just three points courtesy of draws against Norwich, Reading and Leeds, while losing their other to Sheffield Wednesday.
Sears added: “Fulham were definitely the best team we played all last season. At Portman Road they played us off the pitch and we couldn’t get near them.
“At Craven Cottage it was a little bit different – we had a couple of chances in the second half – but they have the players, the movement, to cause any team problems.
“It will probably be pretty similar to the Brentford game. We might not have much of the ball but if that’s the case we will just have to be patient and hopefully catch them on the break.
“These teams are alright when it’s still 0-0 but once they go behind it’s a different game so hopefully we can get the first goal and it changes everything.
“Maybe there’s a bit more pressure on Fulham these days. This time last year I don’t think many people would have put them down as a top six side but now everyone knows what a good side they are.
“Maybe they have had a play-off hangover because they had such a good season and were unfortunate not to go all the way. It might be a good time to play them as well because they probably don’t have all the players they want yet.”
Sears is delighted with Town’s scintillating start to the season, particularly after manager Mick McCarthy came in for so much criticism last term when the team finished 16th, their lowest end-of-season slot in 58 years.
He said: “The gaffer’s always pretty bubbly. Last season it was the players’ responsibility as well but the manager was getting a lot of the stick. There was a lot going on behind the scenes with the owner not bringing in players, which probably affected it.
“It was a tough place to play last season but the manager has been great – win, lose or draw he always comes in with a smile on his face. Obviously, if we lose, he isn’t happy after the game but come Monday morning it’s forgotten about. We’re winning games at the minute so everyone’s happy.”
Asked about McCarthy’s reputation as a hard taskmaster, Sears replied: “To be fair I think he’s calmed down a bit over the years and got a lot easier. He wants things done right and if it’s not done right he’ll tell you.
“But he’s been great with me since I’ve been here and the boys love him, so we’re all glad it has turned out well.
“I don’t want to talk about last season too much but there was a real negative atmosphere around the place, not just here at the training ground but also at the stadium as well. But it has been different this season and the fans have been great.
“The signings have helped – we’ve brought in some good players during the summer – and it has given everyone a lift. When you’re winning games there is no better atmosphere than at Portman Road.”
Meanwhile, while Sears’s search for his first goal of the season continues he has taken time out to congratulate loanee Bersant Celina on breaking his own personal duck with a late strike in South London earlier this week.
Sears added: “He’s really good with real talent but he’s been unlucky with illness, which he keeps bringing in and spreading around. Since day one we’ve seen his ability and he’s obviously at Manchester City for a reason.
“For him it’s just about adapting to the Championship more than anything else because we’ve seen in training how he’s a serious talent. He’s one to avoid in training because he can stick it through your legs. Didzy’s another one who can do stuff that other people can’t do.”
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