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Joe Lewis on RedTV

May 21, 2020 1:00 am Author: AFC Media Team
Joe Lewis on RedTV

Training

“At the moment we are treating this spell as our summer break. So we are doing what we would do during the close season. The lads have been given programmes to follow, it is not as strictly monitored as there is trust given to the players – there is no one there who won’t be doing their programme.

“After that four week spell, which ends next week, we will have a more closely monitored programme which we will still to do from home, in the build up to hopefully getting back to distance training, whenever that comes along, at some stage in June.

“We need to start somewhere.

“Hopefully we are given the green light to get back to training.

“The training is all going to be different.

“I watched some of the highlights from the German football at the weekend and going by that matchday is going to be very different as well. I know some people criticised it, but we are not going back to normal.

“Things have changed.

“And certainly for the foreseeable future it is going to be very different.

“It is down to the players, the clubs and the authorities to make it the best version of football that we can. But it is going to be different.

“I am sure we will learn from the way the Germans do it, the way they do it in England. I am sure there will be things they wish that they had done, and haven’t done, and also things that work really well. That is the slight advantage we have got going after them, we can learn a lot.

“What the crowd give you during a game, you are going to have to find that from within. Everyone is highly motivated to win games and win points but it will feel strange behind closed doors. The sooner we can get an atmosphere and supporters back into a stadium, the better. But you can only do that when it is safe.

“Hopefully we can start the season as scheduled and the SPFL, the SFA and whoever else is involved in these decisions, can work as hard as they can to find a way to get supporters back in safely when they can.”

Players Safety

“We have had chat with club staff to give us an update of the situation and what is going on. I have been involved in meetings, about how it will look when we go back to games and training and things like that. We have been spoken to. We have been listened to. If any players have concerns, there are people we can speak to at the club about that.

“We can take comfort from the fact no one is going to be forcing us to do anything unless all the safety measures are in place.

“We will learn how Germany and all the other countries do it.

“Everything will be done to make it as safe as possible.

“We will be given the full information and we have complete trust in our medical staff.

“I don’t think anyone feels that they will be put in an unsafe environment. There is not the urgency now that the season has been called. There is not the urgency to push us back into something too soon.

“I can only speak for myself and I have no concerns. I have full confidence in the medical staff at the club not to put us in a dangerous position or put ourselves at risk.”

2019/20

“It would have been difficult to finish the season.

“Our schedule would have been very hectic, and we are not at a stage in Scotland where we are being told that we can start playing games again anyway.

“So I think it was probably the sensible decision.

“Most teams will feel that they would have finished in a higher position that they did. I feel that we would have come third. Motherwell will have felt that they would have come third as well.

“At the end of the day we finished fourth.

“We have got the other European spot so it could have ended up worse for us. We have not lost out too much, and qualifying for Europe is another good achievement, seven seasons in a row now. We can look forward to that, although we don’t know what format it will come or how it will work.

“Everyone, myself included, everyone felt that they were just getting going.

“I felt that I was in good form the back end of the season. It was disappointing in that regard. It was disappointing for everyone of course when the season was stopped but I just felt it was a time that we had started to click. We had less injuries than we had during the rest of the campaign and we were also beginning to find some consistency.

“We did have some good performances throughout the season but they were dotted around, they were never backed up by two, three, four very good performances after that.

“I felt our best form was just round the corner. It is easy to say that now, but I genuinely believe that.

“But it was cut short so we need to try and carry what we had into next season.”

The squad

“Given that there are relatively few players out of contract – hopefully that can work in our favour. I am sure there will be one or two players coming in and one or two leaving but having a settled squad should help our form at the start of the campaign.

“Having a settled squad should be an advantage. We are in a good position to start next season well.

“Matty Kennedy, we knew he was a very good player but to hit the ground running like he did, and show consistent form with great fitness levels, (after being injured) was very impressive. As was his attitude. Hopefully having settled so well he can kick on and be a big player for us going forward.
The same with all the new lads.

“Craig Bryson, hopefully this spell can help him fully recover and also Funso will also be another big player for us. He was just getting going when he got his hamstring injury. Then he was just getting going again when the season stopped. So we have those additions, or what will feel new additions if we can keep everyone fit this season.

“We have depth in the squad.

“If we had a full strength team with everyone fit, we will have a very strong bench which will give the manager some really good options. And hopefully give him a few selection headaches. That is something that he has not had this season because of the injury situation that we had.

“He will have lads who will have a case for starting. That is what he wants, rather than having to find players to play in positions.

“The players have been working hard in this break. It has certainly been a mental break for everyone because there has not been any football to watch or play. Everyone should be coming back fresh and raring to go.

“Everyone is desperate to get back to playing.

“The boys have kept in touch through the WhatsApp group, which has still been lively, and we also had some Zoom calls as well. It has been hard as I have missed the lads. I have missed them almost as much as playing. I have missed the day to day banter and coming into training and seeing people around the club and having a laugh. I really enjoy the company of the boys through the week in training. Everyone is the same, and we look forward to getting back to that, hopefully sooner rather than later.”

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