Valon Behrami and Quique Sanchez Flores were sick of the sight of each other last season. On Saturday Behrami was just sick, yet it says much about his new-found attitude that he played on under Walter Mazzarri.
“I had flu all week and didn’t feel very well,” said Behrami. “I was on antibiotics all week. I drank something after the first half and couldn’t keep it in, I needed to throw it up. As soon as I did I was fine and kept going.”
Behrami infuriated Sanchez Flores last year by only reporting himself fit to train at the back end of a training week, making it impossible for him to include him in the matchday plans. Behrami also expected to walk straight back in the side after his suspension, yet Sanchez Flores favoured the dependable and durable Ben Watson. He fell so far out of favour that he was not even asked to warm up when Etienne Capoue went down in the FA Cup semi-final, while he wasn’t even in the squad for the final four games and was a no-show for the lap of honour after the final game of the season.
“I was the one who could be negative last year,” he said. “But at the same time, I see myself and I’m ok with how I was. I wasn’t happy, because no one is when you don’t play, but I didn’t disturb the team. This is something which I’m proud of last year, because it was my first time being out for three or four games at a time.
“This year, you can feel no one is being negative, everyone is very positive and we need everybody involved,” he said. “The guys who haven’t played so much so far are the most important at the moment. They are positive every day and that’s what the team need. It’s not easy to stay outside like I did last year, but I kept working and not being negative.”