Kenny Thompson accentuates process over the here and now as Village aim to end slump
Kenny Thompson will not be expecting any favours from his former team when North Village host Somerset Eagles at Bernard Park tomorrow.
Both teams are struggling at present, Eagles second from bottom with only one win in seven league outings, while Village have slid down to mid-table after going four games without a win.
Village, who won a ninth league title in March with two games to spare thanks to Eagles’ 2-2 draw with runners-up Dandy Town, are finding the going tough in their title defence, winning only three of their seven matches thus far.
Already they trail leaders Robin Hood by eight points, with the season not yet at the halfway stage. “We’re not in panic mode at all,” Thompson said.
“I understand and I’ve tried to get across to the squad that football has its challenges, and we have to embrace those challenges and work through them.
“Everyone at the club was happy to accept the process when things were going well and we were winning last season. Now we have to keep believing in the process when things aren’t going as well.”
The coach added: “Sometimes it’s important to remember that football is more than just winning; you have to embrace the journey and enjoy the process.
“No one is panicking; it’s more about being reflective. Things aren’t going well at the moment, but we have work out the best process and get back to it.”
In the past four games, Village have had two draws and two losses while teams such as Hood, Devonshire Cougars and Dandy Town enjoyed good spells. PHC and Somerset Trojans climbed above Village with wins last weekend.
“We’ve had a number of injuries, players away with work situations and others missing because of an accumulation of yellow cards,” Thompson explained. “On Sunday it was a case of all of them at the same time and we were really thin in terms of numbers.
“That’s not an excuse at all and we still expect a good performance even if the squad is thin.
“Every team has players that are influential, but you can’t always rely on certain players. The whole squad should be ready to make an impact and be capable of stepping in.”
Thompson thought his team were unlucky in their 1-0 loss to the Trojans last weekend.
“I felt we controlled the match on Sunday and did everything but score,” he said. “However, we all know how football can be and sometimes you’ll get punished.
“For the most part, I think the fans can accept that sometimes things don’t always work out as long as our performances, ethic and spirit are at the right level. We have had bad moments, but I believe our ethic has still been there.
“As a coaching staff, we’re still upbeat. We trust the squad we have to be able to rise above the situation we find ourselves in at the moment. We have to reflect on the small details that will make the small differences.”
Eagles are an unpredictable side and, with points at a premium, Thompson isn’t taking the three points as a given, even at home.
“Sunday’s game is another opportunity to get back to winning ways,” he said. “We have to put the past behind us, learn from our mistakes and make things right.
“We won’t be taking anything for granted. We respect every opponent because it is a tough league.
“Robin Hood are looking like they could open up a gap at the top, but the great thing about this league is that it can be very unpredictable and there a good qualities in every team.”
Village started the season with a target on their backs after a successful campaign in 2019-20.
“From the first day of pre-season, we warned the players how difficult it can be to play as champions,” he emphasised. “Every team will play extra hard against us because they want to beat the champions.
“That was not the case the season before where we were almost relegated and so as a result the expectation of people was lower.
“We also have a lot of young players within the squad who don’t have a lot of experience of the Premier Division and they’re are having to learn with the added pressure of being champions.
“However, as I keep saying, we have to embrace the added pressure because it is all about coping with the challenges. We have to learn how to deal with difficulties.”