Monday 28 May 2018

I have got to up my game, admits gutted Konchesky

Carl Markham

Liverpool defender Paul Konchesky has admitted he has not yet reached the level required at Anfield and accepted full responsibility for Sunday's 2-1 defeat at Tottenham.

The left-back was given a tough time by Aaron Lennon and was caught out of position and found lacking for pace as the winger raced through to score the winner in added-time.

Despite an encouraging performance at White Hart Lane, where the Reds dominated the first half and should have led by more than 1-0 at the interval, Konchesky was the one player who came in for criticism.

He acknowledged his culpability and stressed his determination to improve.

"I've got to up my game. Where I've played before has not been as high a standard as Liverpool, but this is a good pressure," said the 29-year-old.

"The fans want you to be in the top four because that's where Liverpool belong. Straight after (Lennon's winner) I knew that I'd have to hold my hands up, but we also had chances to win the game.

"We've got to try to take the positives out of the game. I was gutted (with the winner) but we've got to put it behind us, and I've got to put it behind myself for the next game."

Settle

The former West Ham defender has taken a while to settle having arrived from Fulham in the summer and his integration into the side has not been helped by changes going on within the team.

Roy Hodgson, who brought Konchesky with him from Craven Cottage when he replaced Rafael Benitez as Liverpool manager, has slowly been instilling his own tactics and injuries have made it harder for the new arrival to slot in.

"I got injured early on so I'm just getting back to playing at full fitness now," Konchesky said. "I'm getting used to the atmosphere and the people surrounding the team. I can see signs that we're starting to play in the style he (Hodgson) wants.

"The more we work on it on the training ground, the more the players get used to what the manager wants. We're taking it into games. The performances have been of a much higher standard in the last two games.

"It's about organisation and a lot of hard work. I think the team is becoming organised in the system."

Meanwhile, Hodgson has insisted that Fernando Torres' crisis of confidence has not returned after the striker's killer instinct appeared to desert him at White Hart Lane.

Torres twice hesitated when clean through either side of half-time while the visitors were leading, squandering chances which he would have been expected to take.

Hodgson admitted last month that Torres was mentally "a bit low" following an injury-hit spell and a poor World Cup on a personal level. The Spaniard looked back to his best in the victory over Chelsea but has now drawn a blank in his last three matches.

"I think 'crisis of confidence' may be too strong," said Hodgson. "I was pleased with him.

"Fernando himself, because he sets very high standards, will be disappointed he didn't take one of the goal chances, which his good play -- to be fair -- created."

Hodgson also refused to be too harsh on the Spaniard's strike partner David Ngog after the latter inexplicably handled Gareth Bale's free-kick to gift Tottenham a penalty.

Ngog enjoyed a reprieve when Jermain Defoe missed from the spot and Hodgson said: "Players do these things. I don't think he jumped with his hands to actually stop the ball with his hands."

Ngog hobbled off in the second half but Hodgson's main concern is Jamie Carragher, who faces a month out with a dislocated shoulder.

Irish Independent

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