Morsy: It's Going to Be About Us and the Level We Can Produce
Friday, 29th Jul 2022 17:01
Sam Morsy is expecting more of the same in the new campaign that kicks off tomorrow with a home clash against Bolton, especially when it comes to opposition teams going head-to-head with Town in the months ahead.
Based on previous seasons, the Blues’ end-of-season points tally of 70 last time out might have secured a play-off place, but instead it left them down in 11th place with 13 points fewer than sixth-placed Wycombe Wanderers – a disappointing finish compared to the club’s ambitions when things got under way in August last year.
Asked if he expected the division to be a lot different in the new season, Morsy replied: “Not really. I think when the new manager came in the respect level was there, where the majority of the teams – apart from MK Dons away – were pretty much the same.
“They just tended to sit in, tried to counter-attack and tried to get set pieces, because I think they respected the fact that we would have most of the possession. I think most will still be trying to do that in the new season but I don’t think Bolton will do that tomorrow.
“They beat us twice last season so they won’t fear us too much and will think they can beat us again. They will come here and have a go but I think the majority of teams will sit in. There are different ways of doing it and there are some new managers in the league, but I think a large percentage will sit in and try to counter-attack.
“But there will be some teams who will try to take us on and have a go. There’s no right or wrong way – we just have to make sure we can manage the situation right whatever the opposition try to do.”
Will the quality go up a notch? “Well, Derby have signed a load of really good players and there’s been a huge turnover,” added Morsy. “That’s an interesting one and we don’t know how it’s going to work out there. Barnsley and Peterborough have also come down and they’re always competitive.
“I’m expecting pretty much the same as last season, a high level of clubs pushing for the top places, so it’s going to be about us and the level that we can produce.
“We’ve shown we can do it with the players we have added since last season with the work that has been put in with the manager on the training ground. The repetition, the positivity, it will be interesting to see what level we can get to.”
One thing is certain, however – that Town’s preparations for a visit from Bolton have been better than they were in September last year, which saw the visitors triumph 5-2 despite the fact that the Blues were twice ahead in the game.
Morsy had only just arrived at the club from Middlesbrough and had to sit and suffer with the fans because he was ineligible to play thanks to a ban picked up on Teesside, while a number of players were still finding their feet – and some even making their debuts – after a busy summer that saw 19 new players recruited.
The skipper added: “Last season the remit for the job was to have a huge rebuild. Within that you have the new players, 19 of them, and you put things into place, but with that it’s difficult to have a really, really good start. It’s about the pros and the cons but it had to be done and I thought Paul Cook did a really good job in doing that.
“But unfortunately, we were hampered by a lack of momentum, which affected where we were after the first few games. We had people making their debuts and players were living in hotels, looking for houses etc and it wasn’t ideal. Fast forward 12 months and it’s all steady, which is a good thing.
“We’ve had a steady pre-season, no dramas and everyone settled, the players are happy and all know each other much better. We’re a close group and we spend a lot of time together, and the preparations have been good, calm and exactly what you need with a long season ahead.”
Morsy accepts that expectations will be high this season, a point proved by an anticipated Portman Road crowd tomorrow of around 25,000, but he said: “I’ve been promoted four times and been in the play-offs once so I know what promotion looks like.
“The expectations are there on a day-to-day basis – how you apply yourself, how you train, how you look after yourself, diet, all these things, and when match days come around that’s the enjoyable part of the job.
“We know this is a big club but a lot of the guys here have played at big clubs. Some haven’t, but those who have know all about the expectation and the managers who win the most don’t talk about winning, they talk about the process.
“It’s about how we apply ourselves and that means cutting no corners, so on match days you just go out and play. The manager never criticises anyone for making mistakes if they are trying to do the right things.
“In the game at Millwall last week we made a mistake for their goal but there was no criticising anyone. It’s always about learning and we have put ourselves in a good position going into the new season.
“The reason the fans are behind us so much is that they can see what we are trying to do. Saturday will be about trying to enjoy it and thriving in the atmosphere the fans will generate.”
Morsy scored three goals last season from midfield, two of them coming later in the season by which time he had been encouraged to play more further forward by new boss Kieran McKenna, so is he expecting to claim a better tally this time around?
He said: “When I started to play a more advanced role, I scored a few and had a lot of good chances. It’s a process thing, really, and not about just putting a number on it.
“You might get lucky, you might get a few deflections that go your way, that sort of thing, but if I can keep running hard, get in the box, get my shots off, we’ll see what happens.”
One thing that has delighted Morsy is that he has been able to reclaim his favourite shirt number of five, something that was impossible by the time he arrived from Boro last year, which forced him to opt for the number 55.
He explained: “For the majority of my career I’ve had the number five shirt – even when I’ve played for Egypt – and I came in too late to get it last season.
“I spoke to George [Edmundson] about it and he obviously wanted the number four shirt so I was able to get my old number back again. I hope it helps to make it a successful season.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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