Virgil van Dijk has admitted that he hasn’t been performing at his usual level this season and can do “much better.”
Like his team, the Liverpool defender has struggled so far this season, making a number of uncharacteristic mistakes and looking far less solid defensively than he has in the past.
That has led many to believe that he’s past his best already, especially after the Champions League 4-1 defeat to Napoli, but he’s not worried about that being the case, saying a dip in form is normal.
“Ex-pros and players who have played at this level know there are times when you can have a blip, a period like this unfortunately, and it is how you react to it,” he said. “What we did last week in Napoli was unacceptable, all of us, and the days after that game we definitely had a reality check.
“We spoke with each other and we have to carry on. You don’t want to be in the situation but we all know the season will be so long to turn this around.”
While the team performance was much better against Ajax, with Liverpool winning 2-1, Van Dijk was beaten for the Dutch side’s goal.
Nevertheless, he says the match was a step in the right direction, but has admitted that he can play much better than he is at the moment.
“I can do much better,” he said. “I think [Ajax] was a good step in the right direction for all of us. It is like it is: if you perform well as a team everyone is going to do well if you are in the same direction. That’s always going to be the case.
“That’s the good and the bad thing about it. If we do well I obviously get praise and if we don’t then I don’t. But I still think I need to improve and that’s fine.
“I’ve said it many times, we are all human beings and we all want to do as well as we can and the same goes for me.
“I know for a fact I can do better – but we all can do better. I feel very hurt if we concede goals and don’t keep clean sheets and I feel that responsibility but that’s a good thing. I want to turn this season around not for myself but for all of us associated with the club. Let’s just go for it, enjoy it.”
Chelsea drops Fofana update after initial tests on knee injury
Wesley Fofana’s knee injury is better than initially feared after the first set of tests returned positive results.
The defender suffered a knee injury in a collision with Rafael Leao in the 38th minute of Chelsea’s 3-0 home win against AC Milan, as his night ended in frustrating fashion having scored his first goal for the club earlier in the match.
There is hope that Fofana could return before the World Cup, with Chelsea’s final match before the tournament taking place away to Newcastle on November 12.
The centre-back is likely to miss this weekend’s clash against Wolves and the away match at San Siro against Milan next week.
Fofana was seen leaving Stamford Bridge on crutches on Wednesday night, with his right knee in a brace as there were worries he may have suffered a serious injury.
Speaking in his post-match press conference after Chelsea’s victory over Milan, Blues boss Graham Potter admitted he was unsure how bad it would prove to be for Fofana.
‘We’ll have to scan it tomorrow and see how he is but there’s nothing to report at the moment,” Potter said.
“That’s the one disappointing thing about the evening so we have our fingers crossed. We’re concerned but I don’t want to speculate on it now.
“These things happen. He’s a young guy and a strong guy but we’ll support him.”
Erik ten Hag explains decision to substitute Jadon Sancho in Omonia victory
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has confessed that he was unimpressed with the left side of his team in the first half of Thursday’s 3-2 victory over Omonia Nicosia, leading to him substituting both Jadon Sancho and Tyrell Malacia at half-time.
United were woeful in the first half and trailed at the break after Sancho and Malacia conspired to give away the ball for the cheapest of counter-attack goals, and both were hooked at the interval.
Sancho was replaced by Marcus Rashford, who went on to bag a goal and an assist, while fellow substitute Anthony Martial also scored just moments after being introduced on the hour mark.
Asked to explain his logic behind removing Sancho while his team were losing, Ten Hag said: “It [the goal] was not what I wasn’t happy with, it was the movement with our ball.
“The width on the left side, for me, was no good first-half – the movement from behind the defending line.
“So I hoped with Luke [Shaw] and Marcus we get more effect from that and so in my opinion that happens.”
Asked what he told Rashford and the rest of the team at the break to inspire a comeback, Ten Hag told BT Sport: “More runs, we are too static, we have to make the opposition move to get behind – that is why we made two subs.
“The subs really had an impact today.”
The boss added: “I would call it stay composed. It can always happen, football is a game of mistakes. I agree with you, first 30 or 35 minutes, we played quite well, the only thing we didn’t do was score a goal.
“When you score a goal you make your life easy, we didn’t. Then we concede a goal and it was the worst 10 minutes from the game from us. After half-time, we dealt well with the setback.”
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