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First Team

Three things we learned: Iraola’s pre-Brentford press conference


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Andoni Iraola hosted his latest press conference ahead of Brentford’s visit to Vitality Stadium on Saturday.

Here are three things we learned…

1. Pleased with award nomination

Yesterday saw the head coach nominated for the Premier League’s Manager of the Season award.

Chosen alongside Mikel Arteta, Unai Emery, Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp, Iraola spoke of his delight in the nomination.

He said: “I think it’s something for the club. People think that we have done a very good season and it’s good to see yourself with this kind of recognition.

“I think the other nominees are in another level, I would say. They are the top four teams in the league.

“It’s good that a club like us receives this kind of recognition but in the same way it could go for Sean Dyche or Gary O’Neil, they are also doing very good jobs.

“It’s nice to receive the nomination, yes.”

2. Believes there is room to keep growing

Having record the club’s best-ever points total in the top flight with victory last time out at Vitality Stadium, the head coach felt there was still room to grow when asked on the squad’s potential.

“There are a lot of teams better than us in the Premier League, that’s what I feel,” Iraola explained.

“We have to be at our best to compete against the teams that are above us, I think our results have been quite logical.

“We haven’t taken results against the top teams, we have taken better results against the teams around us and been very good against the teams that finished at the back of the standings.

“I think we still have a lot of room to grow and we have to continue improving because, at the end, the Premier League is very demanding.

“If you stop improving, you will finish lower.”

3. Expects midfield to be a key battle tomorrow

Looking into the immediate future, Iraola listed the middle of the park as a key battle for the side to be successful tomorrow.

When asked on the Bees’ visit, the head coach said: “It’s going to be difficult. They don’t give you a lot and they press a lot – the same way we would want.

“So, there will be a lot of fight in the middle for space and whoever wins this battle in the middle will be dictating the game.”

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