Knudsen: Home Record Must Change
Tuesday, 27th Nov 2018 17:00
Defender Jonas Knudsen is in a unique position going into tomorrow’s visit from Bristol City as Town seek to improve on a miserable home record in 2018.
The Dane is the only player on the books who can boast of scoring a winner at Portman Road this calendar year, which came when he netted the only goal against Barnsley in April, in what proved to be Mick McCarthy’s final game in charge of the Blues.
Add the victory by the same scoreline over Leeds in January, when on-loan Bersant Celina was the matchwinner, and Town fans have had only two wins to cheer in 18 home games over the past 11 months, with no successes in nine in the current campaign.
“Our home record needs to change, hopefully starting from tomorrow,” said Knudsen. “We need to be hard to beat at Portman Road and make home advantage count.”
Knudsen is far more confident about Town’s chances of avoiding relegation following the arrival of new manager Paul Lambert who, while only taking two points from his three games in charge, has been able to improve the performance level considerably.
Asked about former Norwich boss Lambert’s first few weeks in the job, Knudsen said: “I think he has come in and done something similar to what he did before at his other clubs.
“He has come in with a plan of what we have to do and that’s what I think was needed, specifically with the situation we were in when he arrived.
“He has made it clear about the way he wants us to play and if we follow that he’s fine. I believe everyone can see from his three games in charge what we are doing.
“Maybe the football has been a bit different and it’s more enjoyable to watch. I have to say that the first half at Reading was one of the more enjoyable halves I’ve ever played in.
“We should have scored four or five goals, not just two. The way he wants us to play has given us a boost but things are also different on the training ground.
“He has brought everyone together in a similar way to what Mick [McCarthy] did. It’s not only Paul who has been absolutely brilliant, but also his whole staff who are doing really well.
“For me personally it has been a big difference, to be fair. I think he has been absolutely brilliant and he has got the place going again. He has really got the training ground going as well and we have all got a boost from that.
“Of course, we would like to have better results, but I can see a difference in all the lads since the new manager came in.
“I’m really pleased with what he has done in the first few weeks. You can see he has experience and that will definitely help us. We have all been given a specific role in the team and I like the way he wants to play me.
“He has encouraged me to get some confidence on the ball and getting forward, while also making sure I concentrate on the defending part of the job.
“I can play wherever he wants me to play, centre-back or left-back, whatever he thinks is best, but the way he is getting the team to play definitely suits me.
“I have always said you are only as good as your last game, even your last training session. Players have to do their best all the time and make sure they do it in every game. Football can change quickly and you always remember your last game.”
Asked if there was a sense that there wasn’t a plan under previous manager Paul Hurst, the player who arrived at Portman Road from Esbjerg three and a half years ago added: “It’s always tough to say when it has gone wrong but I think we have more of a plan now.
“It is tough to deal with what was wrong with Paul Hurst – maybe there was a lot, maybe not – but it wasn’t working the way we wanted to do it.
“I think there’s a better plan now and we understand clearly how the manager wants to go about it, which is brilliant.
“Regarding my own form, it’s tough for me to say because we are in a situation where the team hasn’t played that well and I’m not going to turn round and say that I have been brilliant.
“I think I have been quite consistent and it is clear we have improved since Paul Lambert has come in. The important thing now is to look forward and I believe we will be fine.”
Knudsen is enjoying the fact that he is linking up once again on Town’s left flank with Freddie Sears, explaining: “I’m happy if people can see that because it has been brilliant to play with Freddie. We have always had a good relationship and enjoyed it when we play together.
“I remember we played the first game of the season against Blackburn together and Freddie had an assist, but he was left out of the next game.
“The gaffer [Lambert] picked us two on the left and our relationship is great. I think we’re seeing a different player in Freddie now and everyone is happy seeing what a good player he is.”
Finally, Knudsen acknowledged that Town supporters can help Town’s struggle for survival. “I think I’ve said it before but the fans have such a big part to play,” he said.
“We have to do it together, win, lose or draw. It is vital that we have them behind us and the atmosphere the other night against West Brom was absolutely brilliant.
“I can’t thank them enough for that and they should know that we always want to do our very best for them out there. We will do everything we can because the best feeling is to score and celebrate together. That’s what we all want.”
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