Brad Guzan has said that last years baptism of fire for the team, will stand them in good stead for the coming campaign, and the players will show they have learnt from it.
Speaking to the Birmingham Mail Guzan said that the strength of character the team had to show in the dark days of last season will leave them mentally right for next season and a lot of harsh lessons will have learnt – although he does praise the defence in front of him for not getting the credit they deserved at points last season.
‘We had a tough spell but that was what made us stronger and helped to bring out our character. When you go through those tough times you are able to help each other, pick each other up and dust each other down. You keep fighting.’
Guzan adds that the biggest test for a player is how they respond to criticism when mistakes are made, you have to be man enough to take it on the chin and learn from it so you don’t make the same mistakes again because then it serves a purpose and you grow as a player.
Speaking specifically about the defence in front of him, Guzan was full of praise for their efforts and he says unfortunately the errors are what stand out, not the good performances they put in, and the times they put their bodies on the line to make his life easier.
‘They were fantastic in my eyes. There’s a lot of stuff that went unnoticed – the blocked shots, the tackles, and other things they didn’t get credit for. I think they improved massively. The guys in front of me did a really good job coming into a situation that maybe wasn’t the easiest. But they just got on with it, and that’s a test of their mental strength and focus.’
Guzan finishes by saying that he thinks everybody in the team are now stronger, both physically and mentally because of what they faced last season and having kept their heads, and pulling out the results when we really needed them, he’s looking for a far less stress filled season in 2013-14 where the players will show they are capable of pushing us up the league and not getting wrapped up in the relegation places again.
That said, there is still a lot to learn for all the players so whilst nobody should get too carried away, we need to be looking at a mid table finish to show tangible growth and if we can start the season well and get that early confidence boost it should go a long way towards helping everyone have a more enjoyable season.
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