Rodriguez praises squad mentality

By SFC Media Fri 13 Dec First team

Jay Rodriguez says everyone is playing their part in pushing Saints forward heading into the Christmas schedule.

The frontman hailed the work-ethic of his teammates and praised the whole squad’s attitude for the belief they have both on and off the pitch.

Saints stopped a run of three successive defeats with a draw against Manchester City last weekend, and Rodriguez says confidence remains as high as ever. 

“We always felt that I think, even when we were getting beat,” he told Saints Player.

“We know we’ve got a great squad and the lads that were missing out are unbelievable players and are all wanting the team to do well, so when they do come into the team they’re ready, which they showed against Man City that they were.

“It’s in us now that’s the way we play. If we are going wrong then obviously the manager or anyone who feels that we aren’t will tell us, but it’s something that we all know from within so it’s kind of driven into us that we need to play in that way.

“You’ve seen with all the changes that everybody works hard, and that playing in our way gets results.

“It was nice to get a point on the board (against Manchester City),” Rodriguez continued. “It was a great feeling and it was nice to end a run of three defeats because I think the performances in the games that we lost have been good and we’d just been a bit unlucky with the result. We’ve still got the belief and it’s showing in the games that we do deserve to compete with the best.

“We’ve kept our way in the how we play and the belief we have is there to go out in the way that we play which is the most important thing for us because we believe that will get us results. 

“It’s nice to know that we carried on playing like that even though we didn’t get the results, and against Man City we kept the belief and got that result.”

Jay’s goal against Aston Villa moved him clear as the club’s top goal scorer this season with six strikes to his name, and although the striker is pleased with his own progress, he states that he is striving for more.

“I’m happy, but I feel I could be on a higher tally than I am now with the chances that I’ve had,” said Rodriguez. “It’s nice (to be top) but I just want to carry on improving and score as many as I can and that’s my main aim really, to try and improve on last year and improve on anything else that I can.

“I had a few headers against Villa that I wish had gone in, but it’s one of those things I need to learn from and improve upon.

“I think everyone in the squad keeps each other on their toes and it shows how well the squad have done with those that have come in, so it’s good that Dani [Osvaldo] has come in and done as well as he has. He’s scored some great goals and it’s a healthy competition really which I think is what you need in a team to improve.”

Saints travel to Newcastle this weekend where there’s a chance to move above the Magpies in the Barclays Premier League table, and Jay is hoping to avenge last season’s 4-2 defeat at St James’ Park.

“It didn’t go our way,” the striker recalled. “Newcastle played well and a combination of things meant that they got the three points in the end. It was a great goal they got I remember, but it’s something that we’ve looked at again, and we’re disappointed with, so hopefully we can put it right on Saturday.

“The table reflects how well you’re doing, so fair play to Newcastle, they’re there on credit which is what we’re looking at and what we’re looking forward to and hopefully we can get the three points from up there.

“It’s an amazing stadium,” Jay added. “The atmosphere is great as well, so it’s a great place to go and visit. It’s that experience which may help us and hopefully it does, but it’s one to look forward to.”

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