Date: 4th July 2012 at 6:20pm
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The majority of our players return for pre season training tomorrow and in some cases, it’ll be the first time they have met the new gaffer.

And what awaits them…work for a start!

Speaking to the Official Site Paul said he was relishing meeting the players properly for the first time, putting them through their paces, being able to assess them all and most importantly, putting plans in place to get the very best out of them each and every week:

‘It’s been a long month and I’m looking forward to getting to work. That’s what we’re here for. I will tell them what I expect and we will give it a good go. I will certainly need the players to perform, I will speak to them as a group because they are a group, that’s the way it should be. We want to get the players going and the place going and if we can do that then it will be fine.’

close up press conference

I quite like the sound of that, no cosy chats, but public praise and dressing downs when needed without letting certain players bend his ear in private.

Oh what a welcome change, especially if the serial troublesome elements of the squad are to remain for a while.

Paul also continues to restate that it’s infact not about him, it’s about the team performing to their best, showing the best, and producing the results they are more than hansomely paid for – even if I’ve just said that a little bit more bluntly than he did.

Eck, Houllier, MON, any manager is only ever capable of being as good as the players allow them to look. Individual flaws certainly don’t help, but for far too many years the same old faces in the starting XI have seemed to be blameless for their behaviour, lack of effort, lack of interest and lack of personal pride when wearing our shirt. That should shine through regardless of the flaws or strengths of a manager and it hasn’t.

We move forward on a sensible footing, what can be blamed at Paul’s feet will be, but let’s remember it’s not Paul who forces certain players to ignore teammates in the desire to give the opposition a goalkick, it’s not Paul who stops players from being able to hit a barn door, and it’s not Paul who makes some players have moments of senility where they switch off and wonder which car they’ll buy next.

The players have had it too easy, step up or Eck off now…simple as that.

‘There are some really good players at the club and it’s up to us to get the best out of them. I can’t wait, but it’s not about the manager, it’s about the players. If we can get them to perform and get them going and enjoying their football, then great. I am looking forward to it as an individual, but as I said, it’s not about me, it’s about the team. The main thing for me is to get them fit, into a way of playing and get their confidence going and not be frightened by making mistakes. It’s new, there’s a freshness about it for them.’

And then it’s down to them. Nice final sentance though, I really do hope we see our younger more attacking players flourish, and of course if they do, that’ll give our younger more defensive minded players time to breath without being permanently under the cosh.

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