Ayoze Perez has been playing a bit of a different role so far this season as a number 10, and the Spanish U21 International has put in some tough shifts and working his socks off for the team.
The goals are not there (yet), but you can see the way Ayoze works it’s valuable to the overall team effort.
Perez had some time off last week when he went back home to Tenerife.
And yes – it was sunny there, so he took the time to relax after a tough first 7 games of the Premier League season where we picked up a very decent 10 points.
Ayoze Perez in action against Stoke
Perez has surprisingly started all seven Premier League games for us so far in the season although Rafa is looking to bring in an attacking midfielder in January if somebody good is available at that time.
This is what Ayoze has said in the local papers in a lengthy interview as reported in the Chronicle today:
“The manager tells us all the time that we have to start our defending with the strikers,”
“He tells us that we are really important for the shape of the team.”
“We have to be in good positions, and make their players feel uncomfortable. That is something we have spent a lot of time working on and trying to improve.”
“It is the kind of work that is sometimes hard to see. It is not as obvious as when you are scoring or making runs into the box, but it is just as important.”
“It is work that we have to do because it is important for the team. It worked really well against Liverpool.”
“Sometimes, you have to enjoy that side of the game.” “Being a striker is not just about scoring goals.”
“Sometimes, you have to make sacrifices and suffer a bit for the good of the team.”
“You have to try to make your opponents uncomfortable because that might lead to more spaces for the counter-attack.
“Against the top teams in the division, you often have to play in that way.”
“The teams at the top of the table are very strong, and they know what to do with the ball, so you have to be aware of that and make sure you do your job to stop them.”
“I think most of us need this break now.”
“We are going to go back to our homes – I went back to Tenerife for a bit – and it was a chance to rest and recover.”
“It will also be nice to get a bit of sun! I think we deserve this little break because we have put an awful lot into the first few matches of the season.”
“Hopefully, when we come back, we will be full of energy for the next games.”
Perez has done more defensive work for the team, and that has affected his goalscoring.
But that’s an area of his game he can now improve – do the defensive duties well, which is what he’s doing but also score some goals.
Perez epitomizes this season just how hard our players are working to make up for the lack of top-class players currently in the side.
But it’s all working quite well so far and we are in 9th place in the league.
What do you think?