Bristol City (A) | Azaz's Preview
After impressing in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Preston North End, Argyle midfielder Finn Azaz is looking to carry on his good form into Tuesday night’s game at Bristol City.
Finn’s teammates are in decent form, too, even though a few recent results have not backed that up, especially on the road. The loss at Preston followed a similar game at Birmingham City, in which Argyle caught the eye with slick movement and confident possession, without bringing home the points performances deserved.
As the Greens prepare for the relatively short journey to tenth-placed City, Finn says that the players are striving to make the small improvements necessary to find their first win on the road, in front of 3,000 travelling Pilgrims.
“It's crazy that the ‘local derby’ is like two, three hours away, but we know that the fans bring loads every game,” said Azaz. “We know there's a little bit more on it because it's the most local team in the division. We'll be up for it.
“I think we have a really good group and a really driven group. The way that we work is we're not thinking about external factors too much. There was so much outside noise last season that we learnt that we had to kind of stay in our bubble and just do the work that we want to do.
“There's such a good culture; we just want to improve. We're just thinking about winning games and improving. We're not thinking about how big the moment is.
“As a team, we just want to get some better results off the good performances.
“It's hard to get the balance right when you're analysing the performances, whether you are pleased with the performance, but obviously it's a results-driven business.
“We've got to look at how we can improve to try and get those results. No-one will probably remember that we nearly won, or we nearly got a point. I think we're very good as a team at reacting to defeats, and even when the performances might not be as good and we might win, we're very good at analysing it. Right now, we just need to keep working to turn it into more points.”
Azaz typically played in an attacking support position in a 3-4-3 formation last season, but with Argyle this season playing a variation on a 4-3-3, Azaz has slipped into a slightly deeper midfield berth, sometimes referred to as a ‘number 8’ role.
It seems to be suiting the 23-year-old, on loan from Aston Villa for a second season. He was voted man-of-the-match at Preston, and he revealed a little about the adjustments he has had to make for this season.
“It's a different role,” he said. “Every game the tactics will be a little bit different. In terms of the press and the positioning, it's quite a subtle difference because you don't have two sitting behind you. You've got more defensive responsibility and then in possession, your movement might be a little bit different because you've got a relationship working together with the full-back and the wide man.
“Working on that side that you're on, the relationships are different, the movement's a little bit different. I’m enjoying it.
“I think we've done well as a team and personally, I'm enjoying my role and how we've been playing. I think we've seen that it's harder to score. You're playing against better teams, but I've been enjoying the step up in levels.”