Louis Saha is not satisfied with his achievements in front of goal this season – and insists he needs to improve his finishing if he is to be regarded as a leading Premier League striker.
The French forward has found the net twelve times this term and seems a perfect fit for Chris Coleman’s 4-5-1 system that has helped the Whites become the division’s surprise package this season. But Saha told the Sunday Times that he remains annoyed by the number of opportunities he has passed up this term:
“I don’t know about that. I’m looking at the chances I could have scored. In some games I should have had a hat-trick and instead finished with one goal. I go home and think about that. I need to improve my finishing. It’s the one thing that bothers me right now. I know I’m playing confidently, but I still need to take my chances more.”
Saha is well known as a perfectionist, who routinely analyses his performances closely by scrutinising the match videos produced by the club, and hopes to have finally put behind him his early top flight struggles following the sensational form that powered Jean Tigana’s side to the Division One title.
“The problems I had when Fulham were promoted were exactly the same as the team. We played brilliant stuff in the First Division, but found the Premiership was completely different. We’re a young side, and maybe back then were a little too young to cope. As for me, every weekend I’d sit at home with my tape and watch my game, feeling bad. That would then make it very hard for me to play well in the next game. I’m learning not to get myself so down. I only watch tapes of my good games these days.”
He admits to finding it difficult as a lone striker and pays tribute to the creativity of his colleagues.
“I think it’s quite hard, playing as the only forward. At Metz I was a winger, and on the wing it’s one against one. Now I’m one against three. It gives me a lot of responsibility and I love it. A big part of my game is trying to use space and use my speed. I have the opportunity to play on the counter-attack. The way I’ve played is only a reflection of the team. Some people are surprised about us this season, but you can ask Luis Boa Morte. After the first couple of pre-season games I was already saying to him, ‘I think we can do something this year’. Almost straight away you could feel something different . In every training session it was like everyone was 400% more than before.
But the season’s only just started, and though we’re doing well against the big teams, we must also start taking three points against the others. Like Portsmouth tomorrow. Opponents have started taking measures against us, and that can be hard. In the last game Charlton used some very good tactics to stop us.”
Saha, the subject of persistent rumours linking him with a move to Manchester United in January, says he is happy in London.
“I enjoy London very much. There’s less jealousy here than in Paris. Paris is a beautiful place, but London is more my mentality. In London you can be quiet when you want and busy when you want. Nobody bothers you. Life’s just nicer, easier here.”