Smaller the better for Drissa
SMALL can be beautiful, and Drissa Diallo believes the Town camaraderie will overcome big-spending teams like today's opponents Leeds United. Diallo has taken to playing at right-back like a duck to water and the team, which has kept two clean sheets in three games, is a far cry from the sieve-like defence of last season.
By Derek Davis
SMALL can be beautiful, and Drissa Diallo believes the Town camaraderie will overcome big-spending teams like today's opponents Leeds United.
Diallo has taken to playing at right-back like a duck to water and the team, which has kept two clean sheets in three games, is a far cry from the sieve-like defence of last season.
The Guinea star, who recently revealed in the EADT he was considering an international come-back, said: “We have a more settled side now. We may change one or two players but, mainly, it is the same team every week.
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“Last season we had about 10 different combinations at the back and we had problems.
“Now we have to cope with a smaller squad but it is actually better. Everyone is fighting for each other, everyone is working even harder for each other.
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“You could see that at Burnley, where we didn't play our best game but the high work-rate from everyone got us through.
“For example, Benty scored a couple of good goals but also he worked hard to stop the running of Mo Camara in the second half and that made a big difference.
“Our manager has not spent a penny, yet I hear other managers complaining they have no money to bring in players then go out and spend a couple of hundred of thousand on a player.
“But, with these free transfers and young players, we are doing well, so let us hope we can carry it on.”
In contrast, Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell has splashed out in big wages and transfer fees to put together a new squad after the old one shed its mega-money stars following relegation.
Diallo said: “Everyone expected Leeds to be in the top six and they could well still be up there.
“They have been struggling a bit but that is understandable when they have made so many changes.
“It is not easy when three-quarters of the squad are new faces and it takes time to gel as a team.
“But they are getting better. They won at Preston, so we know they will be difficult to play against.
“You just have to look at their bench to see players like Julian Joachim, for example, and you realise how good a squad they have.”
Diallo will be directly up against £600,000 signing David Healy, who scored twice against former club Preston last week, but the affable Town star said: “I'm not bothered about coming up against David Healy.
“We know that if we are focused and at our best we don't need to worry about anyone.
“We don't speak about the opponents, for us the main thing is how we play.”
Diallo is looking forward to welcoming back one of the summer departures, with Jermaine Wright returning.
Diallo said: “Jamma was very popular in the dressing room and a very good player.
“I can't believe some supporters don't like Jamma. He did very well in the Premiership. Sven-Goran Eriksson considered him and he was our player of the year, so I'm surprised he was not rated by fans.
“We saw him every day in training and we know how good he is.
“Players will get booed when they go back to their old club. I was when we went back to Burnley because they loved me when I was there but were frustrated when I chose to come here.”
There will be handshakes all round for Wright after the game, but Diallo and Co will be more intent on showing that the new slimmed-down Town squad is coping very nicely without him.