Sidwell: Every single point will be vital this season

Steve Sidwell has experienced the highs and lows of the Premier League and says every single point will be vital this season.

Steve Sidwell in pre-season action against Atletico Madrid. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Steve Sidwell in pre-season action against Atletico Madrid. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Having played for Reading, Chelsea, Aston Villa, Fulham and Stoke, Sidwell knows what the top flight entails and insists finishing out of the bottom three is all that matters.

Albion lost their opening game of the season 2-0 to title favourites Manchester City. Sidwell, 34, feels Albion will benefit from being underdogs in the majority of matches but added they are capable of beating anyone on their day.

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He said: “It helps a lot when you’re going out with no pressure. Players are more relaxed and more often than not, that’s when you play your best football.

“There’s going to be times this year where we’ll be total underdogs and there’s going to be games where we’ll go in as favourites.

“You can never get too high or too low, we’ve just got to stay constant to the game plan. We know what we’re about and, on our day, we can beat anyone.”

Having played in the Championship and Premier League for the bulk of his career, Sidwell is well positioned to point out the differences between the top two leagues in England.

He said: “Last year, we respected everyone in the Championship because if you don’t, you’d be a fool but there’s a lot of games you go into knowing you’re going to win.

“You know you’re going to get that chance which, if you take, you can grind a result out and get the win.

“In the Premier League, it’s completely different. Even if you’re 2-0 up, you cannot take your foot off the gas because one chance and the opposition are right back in it.

“The lads will have to get used to that. They’ll also have to get used to the fact they’ve been used to winning the majority of games throughout a season and we could go on a spell this year where we don’t win for five, six or seven games.

“That’s when we need to stick together. The team spirit here is one of the best I’ve been involved in and that’s what gets you through tough times.

“You took points and wins for granted last year. This year, every single point is vital.

“If it ends up a draw, it could be a pivotal point come the end of the season.

“Obviously the key to it and I’ve said this to the lads before is you keep your points total above the games you’ve played. If you carry on doing that and after 38 games you’re around the 40-point mark, you should be all right.

“We’ll have highs and we’ll have lows but we’ve just got to finish above the bottom three.

“Even if we’re in the bottom three throughout the season but come the end of it and we finish 17th place and above, it’s a good season.”

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