For Jonas Eidevall, our squad's resolve and mentality this season has not solely been down to effort, but also a case of the right focus.
"I think at the beginning of the season, time was not our friend," said Eidevall, reflecting on our squad's lack of pre-season after the 2023 FIFA World Cup. "The preparation time was obviously short but the players have been very good at using the time and putting in the work on the training pitch. They've been able to keep cool and composed minds in some challenging situations."
"Every group is unique and individual. For me, what’s really fascinating about working with people is you bring a group together and they create an environment. That’s going to be shaped by the club culture of course, and by me and the other staff, but it’s also going to be shaped by them and their interactions with them. That sets the total team culture. I think that’s fascinating because every group is unique in how they deal with situations.
"Being task-orientated is really important. I think that is so overlooked in football to not be task-orientated because a lot of times, people tend to only speak about the emotional side and it almost becomes down to effort, like "you have to try harder. You have to run more" and so on when you try to overcome something.
"If the best solution in football was always about taking the most direct way to the goal all the time, everyone would start playing the game like that from minute one. But football is about being calm and composed and making the right decisions at the right moments. I really think that that mentality helps them to be task-orientated. And to have been in situations before and to know like, how do we communicate? Have we worked on an alternative way of solving this if plan A is not working and so on? That grows over time.
As we fell two goals behind at half-time against Leicester City last weekend, it required a similar comeback that our side had already pulled off against Aston Villa and Manchester United this season.
"Let’s not shy away from the fact that being 2-0 down against a physical and strong Leicester is not an easy situation. What really impressed me with the players was how calm and composed they were, and how task-orientated they were as well. That’s such a key part of being successful."
Eidevall made the point of comparison to a similar game against Birmingham City two seasons ago that ultimately affected our title chances. Now looking forward, he is eager to ensure that our recent tendency for comebacks does not become a habit.
"So I think we're at a much better point and we were discussing that in the team. If you make a comparison between how we work as a team and the dressing room when we were losing 2-0 against Birmingham, my first season in the WSL, and that same situation against Leicester, I think that really shows the development of the team and how much better we are at handling those situations.
"Now the problem is, we don't want to be in those situations too often. We have been there enough lately, so let's really try and start the Brighton game in a way where we can put ourselves in a better position."
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