Interview'You have to be ready' – Ibrahima Konate on mentality, Wembley and West Ham
Ibrahima Konate sums up the mentality within Liverpool's squad by stating: 'You have to be ready.'
The centre-back came into the team as one of 10 changes made by Jürgen Klopp for Wednesday’s Emirates FA Cup victory over Norwich City; a match played just three days after the successful, albeit physically and mentally draining, Carabao Cup final.
Joe Gomez and Curtis Jones, who both missed out on a place in the matchday squad at Wembley, joined Konate in the starting XI against Norwich and the No.5 believes their impressive performances are typical of the attitude that runs through Klopp’s group.
Highlights: Liverpool 2-1 Norwich
“You have to be ready [and] this example is perfect,” Konate told Liverpoolfc.com.
“Imagine, OK you are angry, you are sad, but two days after you have to play and you are not ready in your head and then you do a bad game. This would be like you saying to the coach: ‘Yes, I know why I don’t play.’
“You have to be ready every time and if you play [well], you put some problems in the head of the coach and this is good for the group and for you.
“If you don’t play it’s normal you are not happy, you are sad. Everybody knows this because every footballer wants to play important games or wants to play normal games, but in the Premier League you don’t have normal games!
“After, if you don’t play, it’s you against you because OK, you will speak with the coach [and ask] why you don’t play and he will explain to you, but this will not change [anything].
“Then you have to fight, you have to work more and if you don’t play you have to think and ask yourself [why]. If you have the answer to your question, you work on this and this and this, and after your time will be coming. With the work, your time will be coming, for sure.”
Konate was brought off the bench for extra-time versus Chelsea and then converted his spot-kick in the penalty shootout that followed.
“I think if I start to speak about this, we will not stop!” he smiled, when asked to reflect on the final.
“It was an unreal, unbelievable weekend for me. My first title in professional football and with Liverpool, it was amazing and great.
“I was very, very happy and I’m happy today also that we have a lot of important games. We have to, not forget, but you have to put this [the final] to one side and we have to keep going for the rest of the season.
“I swear, one day after this game I remember I was in my bed before sleeping and I watched some videos from after the game with the players, with the coach and everything and I screamed aloud, you know!
“Because I was very happy and of course, when you play it’s more unbelievable for me. I don’t have the words to describe this moment but I hope I will have a lot of moments like that with the club.”
Inside Wembley: Incredible celebrations after cup win
Konate acknowledged he now feels even more settled at Liverpool after sharing the experience of winning silverware with his teammates, but added: “But like I said before, we have to now not think about this a lot. We have a lot of important games and I hope we will win all of the titles this season as a team.”
Next up, Liverpool will seek to record a seventh successive Premier League victory when West Ham United visit Anfield on Saturday.
“We don’t have a choice, we have to be ready. We will play against a very good team,” Konate said.
“West Ham, we played against them and lost 3-2 and we know we have to be ready. West Ham are a strong team.
“We have a lot of objectives this season and now we have to be focused game after game after game. We have to be focused now for this game.”