Nigel de Jong today hailed a special win over Liverpool and then pointed to increased competition as the catalyst for the Blues powerful start to the campaign.
The Dutch World Cup finalist knows exactly what it means to fight his way into a side a stay there and can see the fire in his teammates’ eyes.
“Monday’s performance was one that should set the tone for the season. It is not often that anyone beats Liverpool 3-0. I think you could tell we were all so determined,” said the midfielder who, just like the rest of his colleagues, had no idea owner Sheikh Mansour was in the crowd.
“The game was a lot of fun to play in and I am sure it was great to watch too because the second half was up and down and we managed to score at just the right times.
We are a happy team at the moment. We were always in control of the game and we felt that from the time we scored a well-worked first goal
...Nigel de Jong
“There was an emphasis on keeping possession especially in the first half and we did that at just the right moments to keep a grip on the match.”
Gareth Barry and James Milner walked away with the two individual man the match honours but de Jong was also right up there in the mix.
“As a midfield I thought we played well as a unit,” he stressed.
“James Milner had a fine debut, Gareth Barry scored a good goal and Yaya and I did what we do. I think anyone would agree we have enough quality in our whole team to be challenging now what we have to show is that we have the mentality too.
“We want to win this league. That’s the ambition but to do that we have to hit these standards every week.”
The Dutch star admitted that bringing in six players of such high quality this summer has raised expectations outside the club and competition at Carrington.
“There is no doubt that the intensity has upped in training with the arrival of the new players. Everyone is working and fighting for each other,” he concluded. “There are lots of positive things in this team.
“You have to raise your game when players like we have signed come in the group but it is not just them it is younger ones too pushing from underneath. There are lots of things to be positive about but we must not get carried away with one result.
“What this win has done is make sure we have made a positive start just like United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs.”