Ian Poveda: We're Trying To Do The Club Justice

Ian Poveda: We\'re Trying To Do The Club Justice

Leeds United winger talks Carabao Cup, team spirit and how he's changing as a player

With less than 24 hours until our next game, a Carabao Cup clash against Hull City, Leeds United winger Ian Poveda will be hoping he can add to the minutes accrued last season.
After making his debut against Cardiff in June, the 20-year-old signing from Man City has been a mainstay in the matchday squad since, featuring against Fulham, Derby and Charlton as the side lifted the Championship trophy.
Talking to the media ahead of tomorrow's cup clash, he talks about making his professional debut in the competition, the team spirit and how the coaching staff have been helping him improve as a player.

You made your senior debut in the EFL Cup. Man City were 9-0 up on aggregate after the first leg, that must have been weird to play in? What do you recall from that game?
"Yeah, I was really happy to get my first start. I wouldn't say it was a weird game to play in. Regardless of the scoreline, I just wanted to do my best for the team. It was good to be on the pitch and have the opportunity to express myself.
"To learn from the players in the squad [De Bruyne, Delph and Aguero], both in training and in the game, was great. They helped me a lot and I'll always be grateful. When I first entered the pitch,  I was just thinking, 'Am I really here?', but I think I did alright, it was a nice game."
You're a Premier League player again, what was the feeling like on Saturday being amongst the best in the business?
"It was a great feeling. The lads were focused, ready to go, give it our all, and that's what I think we showed against Liverpool. Unfortunately we didn't get the result but we're just going to keep pushing in every game."
Is there anything that has changed over the summer since the club became a Premier League?
"I don't think anything has really changed. We've always had the mentality of doing our best in every game, regardless of the opponent, as we don't want to disrespect anyone. In training, maybe we've pushed even harder, but everyone is just excited that we're finally back in the Premier League. We're just trying to do the club and the fans justice after all their support."
How important is the game against Hull City for you? 
"I think it's really important. Every game is really important. We're trying to win every game, but we'll take it step-by-step and make sure that we perform to the best of our abilities. As a squad we're just focused on our training. We won't know the Starting 11 until the teamsheet goes up, there might be changes, there might not be, but we've always got to make sure that we're ready no matter what happens."
How competitive is it between you, Jack Harrison and Helder Costa? Do you feel like it's gone up a notch?
"I'm really happy for them, they had a great a game on Saturday and I'm really excited. I want the whole team playing well as it makes me a better player. When I joined the club I said that I wanted to improve myself as a young player, so by them playing well, it makes me want to train harder. We have a good team spirit in the dressing room and I really enjoy being part of it. Everyone is united, there's no little groups or cliques, every player is really nice."
How have you changed as a player since you joined the club?
"The coaching staff are always trying to make us better. I think they have really helped me with not only receiving the ball at my feet but also to focus on running in from behind so that I can provide more options. I've been working on the defensive side of my game to hopefully become a more complete player."
You see games like this coming up and there's a chance that you might be involved. How do you prepare for it mentally to ensure that you grasp the opportunity with both hands?
"Every game, regardless of who it's against, I have to get into the mindset that I might be playing, as there might be last minute injuries etc so you have to make sure that you're always ready for every possibility. As with the other lads, I just focus on every game, do my best in training and work on my recovery. That's all I can do, then once the opportunity arrives, I have make sure that I take it."
Going back to last season, what was it like to be part of those title winning celebrations?
"It was unreal. I can't really put it into words. It was like as if I was in a dream, I just couldn't believe it all. I really enjoyed it all, soaking everything in. As a team, we were just all proud of what we had achieved. We were happy to give something back to the fans, and then to see how happy they were with us was amazing. Hopefully we're going to continue doing that."