Playing under pressure

NextGen Blog - Isaac Hayden

By Isaac Hayden in Milan

It's the eve of the biggest game of the season for us so far, as we take on Inter Milan in Italy tomorrow afternoon, and I can't wait to get going. It will be a massive test, especially as they are the reigning champions, but we're confident that if we play to the best of our ability we can claim another big scalp and progress to the quarter-finals.

It will be a very tough game but we're not scared of them - we're not scared of any team in this competition. They are going to be under pressure as they are trying to retain the trophy and we will try to take advantage of that.

"It will be a very tough game but we're not scared of them - we're not scared of any team in this competition"

The blueprint for us has to be our performance against Athletic Bilbao in our final group game, when we won 4-2 to seal our place in the last 16. It was a fantastic match and everyone said afterwards that it was the most pivotal performance of the season because it was a win-or-bust situation. It was a pressure game, yet everyone played to the best of their ability and that will stand us in good stead for facing Inter. It shows that we can pull it out of the bag when the pressure is on.

We arrived in Milan at lunchtime [on Tuesday] and we're just about to head out for a training session. The weather isn't great, it's quite cold and overcast, but we won't let that affect us. We know what to expect from Inter - I don't think they'll be too dissimilar to Bilbao in that they will want to play good football. The difference will be their power and strength. Although they focus on technique as much as power, the players in Italy are that bit stronger here than in Spain. But we have all the qualities in our squad to counteract that.

This is our fourth away trip of the competition and we are certainly getting used to the process now. About three quarters of this group play in the under-21s and we are playing teams from around the country so making these trips isn't something out of the ordinary.

We normally always stick with the same room-mates and I'm in with Kris Olsson. He's good to share with, in fact I roomed with him on our visit to Dallas for three weeks last season. If you can put up with someone for that long then a few days doesn't seem too hard to handle!

The one I would not want to room with is Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill. He's a great lad and has fantastic banter, but he's one for a holiday. If you want to have a laugh and a good bit of banter, then he's one you definitely want to room with. But if you want to focus and get some sleep, he may not be the best! Thankfully I'm in with Kris, so I can look forward to a good night's sleep and make sure that I am 100 per cent ready for Inter tomorrow.

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