Taking what the manager and players are saying at face value can seem like they are spouting the obvious, however, when you read between the lines you get a very different insight into what is actually happening.
Granit Xhaka and Unai Emery are two examples of them both saying the same thing, which in this instance is building confidence ahead of the Europa League semi-final clash on Thursday night against Valencia but it also tells us something else, it tells us that confidence in the dressing room is actually on the floor.
This is what Xhaka had to say: “The confidence, you take only if you win, if you fight, if you have a good result,” he said.
“We are all disappointed in the dressing room and not happy, of course not, but we have to look forward and the next game is Thursday.
“We have been fighting to win. It is not that we don’t fight because if we don’t fight, we don’t go to play. But it is difficult to explain. After this game or whenever you lose, it is always difficult to find the right words.”
“If you are in the semi-final, you are two games from the final,” he said. “I know anything can happen but if you are three games from the title, you have to think positively.”
Well, we have lost three in a row and as Xhaka said, you only get confidence if you win, so you can only imagine what the confidence is like in the dressing room when you lose three in a row.
Now let’s take what Emery said after yesterday’s devastating 3-0 loss to Leicester City
“Our confidence can go up, can go down. But the most important is to be clear in our minds and our way. Our way is to think of this semi-final and prepare for the match in the best possible way.”
Confidence can go up, can go down is what he said, in better words, confidence is down, there is simply no other way to look at it.
That means that we have a dressing room utterly despondent and just four days to see a dramatic turnaround but that is the problem with confidence, it cannot be turned on and off with just words or motivational speeches, it does need wins and the bottom line is that we are entering the game against Valencia on the back of three shattering losses.
But at least it has been acknowledged by both the players and manager and that is a starting point, whether it makes a difference time will only tell.