Garry Monk gave Jota his full backing when he became Birmingham manager. He had witnessed the Spaniard in full flight at Brentford when he was Leeds boss last season, and it looks like from the off, he has made the playmaker the key player in this new look Blues team.
The 26 year old had failed to live up to his £6million price tag since his arrival in the summer, and it seemed the pressure did get to the midfielder somewhat. He told the Birmingham Mail:
‘I think it`s quite difficult at the start of the season for every club – for me too, because I came here with a lot of expectation. I know the supporters want to see the best Jota.’
That level of expectation led to the player trying to force things too much and struggling to recapture his excellent form for the Bees last season. It also saw him being moved in and out of the starting lineup, preventing him from getting a run in the side to improve his level of consistency, as well as knocking his confidence in the process.
Under the new manager, those worries have been removed. As soon as he came in, the gaffer told the media Jota would be a key man going forward. He has been good to his word so far, starting him in all three matches he has been in charge of. The Spaniard is delighted by how things are going now:
‘At the start of the season I was in and out of the team, the team didn`t win, it was difficult. I was sometimes sad because I want to play more, or do more things but I couldn`t help the team. Now I`m very happy – I think the change in the manager was very good for the team – they are building a great squad, these last three weeks I enjoy every day in training, every moment with the team. Now I`m very happy.’
An arm around the shoulder it seems was the only thing he needed, and the guarantee that he would be given the time on the pitch to show his best game. When a manager is under pressure, it`s sometimes easier to chop and change players as it looks from the outside you are seeking to find solutions to problems the team have. However, it can also look like you don`t have a plan in place.
From the outset, Monk has been certain about what he wants from the team. That certainty can be godsend to players who are themselves lacking in confidence and unsure what they`re doing on the field. For Jota, he`s enjoying things as he knows where he stands. He is enjoying training as he can see that there is a strategy from the manager for how we`ll get out of trouble, and he is certainly enjoying playing going by the two goals he scored against Hull. Has Jota turned the corner? Let me know in the poll.