Midfield General

Monday 17 September 2012 14:00

After playing a starring role in our 3-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion at the weekend, Steve Sidwell admitted he was delighted with his side’s reaction to back-to-back Barclays Premier League defeats.

He and his midfield entourage of Chris Baird, Damien Duff and Alexander Kačaniklić didn’t give their counterparts from the Midlands a moment’s respite, as Dimitar Berbatov’s brace either side of Peter Odemwingie's red card, and Sidwell’s late volley, wrapped up the points on Saturday afternoon.

“It was a good performance,” Steve said. “Obviously the sending off made it a bit easier for us and we would have liked to have been a bit more comfortable, but overall it was very pleasing.

“It was nice to get a goal and nice to start another game so now it’s about cementing that, continuing to play well and keep pushing up the league.

“The last result [against West Ham United] was very disappointing and we had to wait a long time for this game to bounce back. We know our form at home is good and, as I say, we were pleased with our performance as we were able to take control and we took the game to them.”

Berbatov delighted the Cottage Faithful on his home debut as his workmanlike shift up front was complemented by a fine opening goal and a crisp penalty on the stroke of half-time.

“He was very good and he showed his class,” Sidwell said of his new team mate’s performance. “He’s a great addition to the squad and is just what we needed, especially after losing Clint [Dempsey] and Mousa [Dembele]. But he’s looked good in training and he deserved his goals on Saturday.

“Obviously he’s worked closely with Martin Jol before at Tottenham Hotspur so he already knew of his qualities and he’s come in and shown it in training and against West Brom. Hopefully there’s a lot more to come as well.

“Football’s all about confidence and what a way to start. He’ll be full of confidence now going into the Wigan Athletic game and if he gets another goal – his assist record is great as well – that’s what he’s here to do, to play and score goals.”

The arrival of the Bulgarian was hailed as a huge coup for the Whites when he arrived on 31st August and Sidwell declared his pleasure at sharing a dressing room with the former Premier League Golden Boot winner.

“He’s got this calmness on the ball and good awareness,” Steve explained. “He can obviously shoot and he knows how to score penalties as well! His touch is superb and the ball doesn’t get away from him. He’s always calm and collected and he brings the best out of those around him as well.

“When you have players of Dimitar’s calibre come into the Club, the rest of us know we have to raise our game to get to that level and, if we make sure that happens, then we’re only going to push off in one direction.”