'I feel good' - Rodrigo on pre-Watford mentality Leeds United must keep ahead of Premier League return at Southampton
Rodrigo and Leeds United are in a good place after their first league win of the season but the Spanish striker insists they were never in a bad place.
For the first time since his move from Valencia last summer, Rodrigo has played 90 minutes of three consecutive Premier League games.
His first season at Elland Road was disrupted by Covid-19 and injury and although the current campaign got off to a slow start, he is delighted to finally find himself in a condition to feature more heavily in Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
“I feel really really happy and comfortable to play some games in a row,” he said.
“It’s very important for me and it’s important for every player to play as many games as possible.
“I feel good, I feel comfortable and I feel happy, especially in the last game with the first win of the season for us.
“I have felt comfortable since I arrived to be honest. It’s true [Covid and injuries] didn’t help but I am 30 and I understand these situations happen sometimes. I’ve always felt comfortable here with the team, the club, the fans since the first game when they came back.”
Rodrigo not only played all of Leeds’ last three league games, but every minute of a Carabao Cup win over Fulham.
The more minutes he gets, the better equipped he feels to help the team.
“I think this year I have the luck and the capacity to play a lot of games, a sequence of games, and this, for me, is really important for my style of play,” he said. “I need to be sharp, I need to be with agility and with power to try to imbalance and to try to make the difference.”
As for Leeds, Rodrigo says it was not pressure the team was feeling ahead of Watford last time out, but a ‘necessity’ to win and a ‘confidence’ that they were in good shape.
Their performances so far have warranted more than the six points they’ve taken from seven outings, in his eyes.
“I think we are now as a team in a good way,” he said.
“We know that we didn’t start the season as we want, but I think at the same time that we deserve a little bit more than we have in terms of points in my opinion.
“We had a really great game against Newcastle and West Ham, games we could win, should win, but it didn’t happen. The feeling was the necessity of winning but the confidence that we are in a good way.”
The victory now has to be a springboard when they return from the international break to face Southampton, and Rodrigo wants the mindset they took into the Watford fixture to remain.
“I think that now we have achieved the first win we cannot lose the ambition and the mentality that we had before because sometimes when you have the necessity to win you are always more worried about what is going to happen,” he said.
“I think now we just have to keep the same mentality and I think we are in a good way.
“We achieved what we wanted, which was the first win and I hope that we can keep this progression from the beginning of the season until the next international break, for example.”