Gianfranco Zola has spoken about the importance of Monday night's match against Tottenham Hotspur both for momentum and for morale.
The manager was speaking on the back of three clean sheets, including an impressive goalless draw against Liverpool and believes the signs are encouraging for the future. "We are getting there. On Monday we have a vital game which is very important for us, not only for the meaning of the game for the supporters and the players, but also for the results that we have got in recent weeks.
"We need to be focused and carry on what we are doing so far. I know it is not going to be an easy game at all but we are going through a good moment and we have a lot of confidence that we can play a good match."
That confidence comes from the way his team have begun to operate as a unit. "The way they are moving, the way they are working as a unit is really impressive," he said. "The other day was outstanding." Zola added that such progress is due in no small part "to all my staff".
He continued: "We are all working very hard to improve the team. It is not just the defence that is working well, if you are defending and not conceding goals it is because the whole team is defending well. The midfield was impressive as well and they work very hard. Behrami, Mullins, Parker and also Faubert were outstanding defensively. I would like to share the credit with all of the team."
Those in the matchday squad know there is strong competition for places, with the likes of Mark Noble eager to win back his spot and Diego Tristan itching for a debut. The manager is delighted to have few injury hassles. "Right now we don't have any concerns. I should have the whole squad available that I had last week. I don't know yet whether Lee Bowyer is not 100 per cent but apart from him everyone else is available.
"Kieron Dyer has been back in training for three weeks and he is progressing very well. Next week we are going to organise a game for him to see how he goes. We are very pleased and he is getting better and better."