‘He always pushes himself to the limit'

Granit Xhaka has spent half a season with us now, and he feels one of his team-mates in particular has all the capabilities to inspire younger players.

Alexis’ infectious work-rate and will to win have helped establish him as one of the Premier League’s elite players and also as an example to those making their way in the game.

“I think Alexis can be a good role model, because he always pushes himself to his limits, no matter if it’s in training or in a match,” Xhaka said. “He can be a good role model for the young players.”

Alexis scored in last weekend’s 4-0 win at Swansea, and with three of our next four matches at home, Xhaka feels the next few weeks will be pivotal in deciding where we finish this season.

“It was important to win the way we did at Swansea, because we know we have these two home games coming up against Burnley and Watford,” he said. “I see it the same way as the boss. I think the next three games could tell a lot about what sort of direction we’ll go in this season.

“We noticed already in the first game that it was really tough at their place. We needed a late goal to win. They play direct, they’re compact defensively as well and that makes it difficult. But we’re playing at home and we need the three points.

"Against these sort of teams, it’s very important to score as early as possible and as many times as possible. That puts them under pressure, it makes them come out a bit more as well. We want to start positively, we want to force mistakes and if we do that, I’m sure we can win this game.”


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