For Brett Emerton the fact that the press have been sharpening their knives recently is a bit baffling. Okay, so the Aussie has suffered a dip in form, but Brett doesn’t really understand why he’s been singled out when he’s just one of a bunch of players who’ve failed to live up to billing. ‘I guess more was expected of me. It’s now up to me to show how good I am.’

‘Everything is okay with me, although the last few weeks weren’t exactly the best of my career. I don’t know how it happened. Every footballer goes through a bad patch. I wasn’t injured or anything, I just needed some confidence in my game. Back to basics. And it was obviously real difficult to always be playing in a different position. All in all I can’t complain. It’s nice to be someone who can play in a lot of different positions in the team. The most important thing is that I’m playing. It doesn’t matter where. As long as it’s good for the team. ‘I’ve suffered from a lack of form before. You just have to keep your head. I talked to the coach about it and said that I knew I wasn’t doing as well as I had. But I always give hundred percent. And Van Marwijk can see that. Several players were below par for a time. Though everything only seemed to be looking at me. Maybe that’s down to the rumours about the transfer and that more was expected of me. I don’t know, it is strange that the press are on my back so often now. That’s just what happens in those phases, but it’s still weird. I’ve been here two years and suddenly after a couple of bad games they’re critical. It’s not nice to hear of course, but it’s down to me to prove I am good. ‘This season there’s more expected of me. That I stand up as a leader for instance. I do think I should be doing that. Like I said, I’ve been here two seasons and a lot is expected of Shinji and me. Really I’m not a natural leader. I’m calm and shy. It’s not like I’m quiet in the group, you know! I’ll always try and help someone on the pitch and coach him. That’s also expected in the Australian team. I’m one of the more established players there. Whether I’m happy with those expectations? There are two sides to it. On the one hand it says you’re a good footballer but it also puts you under more pressure. ‘Ours is a difficult task to qualify for the next round of the Champions League. It would be a disappointment if we didn’t, certainly after our good start in the tournament. But we can still do it. If we don’t then we have to secure a place in the UEFA Cup. Even though it’s nicer for every footballer to go further in the Champions League.’

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