Club News

Olsson: I was running on empty

Defender raring to go again after much-needed recharge

JONAS Olsson admits the amount of games he played last term caught up with him towards the end of the campaign.

And the Sweden international is eager to get the new season underway after getting the chance to recharge his batteries.

Following his participation in Euro 2012 Olsson played 44 matches during 2012/13 and 36 full games in the Barclays Premier League – missing only two.

Olsson has also had to get to grips with life with a baby after the birth of his daughter Iris Annabelle last summer.

And the 30-year-old defender says it all culminated in him suffering a dip in form during the run-in.

“I did feel towards the end of the season that I needed a break – I felt tired,” said Olsson.

“There were a lot of factors; first of all I’m not that young anymore, secondly last summer I had no break.

“Then for two weeks after the Euros we were in hospital with my newborn daughter, who arrived early.

“I think not having time off last summer eventually caught up with me.

“The last part of the season was therefore not the best for the team - and me personally.

“I played a lot of games and only missed two Premier League games.

“I played 36 90 minutes.

“I was only out for a few days over New Year and only missed the Manchester United and Fulham games.

“I played international friendly games and qualifying games.

“I had a few cup games as well so probably played between 40 and 50 games last season.

“You’re always more or less tired when you come into the latter stages of the season.

“And I think footballers in general are not the best at listening to their own bodies – you want to play if you’re fit enough.

“I think it was also the team in general.

“We have a smaller squad than the bigger teams and don’t get to rotate the squad like the bigger teams do.

“I think it was more a mental fatigue - I had a few knocks of course – but I felt ready to go physically.”

The vice skipper added: “In my work I am a perfectionist.

“I think that’s the reason I’m at the level I am.

“I might not be the best footballer but throughout my career I’ve always been very professional.

“Throughout my career I’ve always been able to get the best out of my qualities.

“The end of last season definitely got to me - it gets to you a lot.

“It’s part of the reason why you carry on - maybe I don’t listen to my body as much as I should.

“When you’re under-performing a little bit you want to go straight back out there and set things straight.

“It goes without saying that last season – personally and for the team - was a very good season.

“But in football, and life I guess, you are only as good as your last game.

“If you see the whole picture then last season was a very good one.

“I’ll take that into next season instead of focusing on the last two months.”

Olsson admits having his first child has also helped him learn to dwell on the negatives.

And he is raring to go after a much-needed summer break with his family in Sweden.

“Having a baby daughter means I’m working on less sleep and I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to combine that with your professional life,” he said.

“I think we all struggle with a lack of sleep. If you’re in physical work then rest is a big part of training and recovery.

“It’s a bit different when you play abroad as well because when you’re at home you have grandparents etc who can you can off-load to a little bit.

“So it’s a challenge, but other than that I think it’s changed me in a very positive way as a person.

“This summer I had a few internationals first that didn’t turn out the best.

“After that I had almost four weeks off and it was good.

“We went back to Sweden after going to Greece first for a week.

“We were going to Beirut after that for a friend’s wedding but things didn’t turn out very nice with the political situation there so we decided not to go.

“We also had a long weekend in France with some friends, which was nice.”

The Baggies secured their best-ever Barclays Premier League finish of eighth last season.

And, while Olsson concedes it will be hard to improve on that, he insists it is not totally beyond them.

“Last year we finished first of the teams we can compete with on a realistic level,” he added.

“It’s not realistic for us to compete with those top seven teams over a whole season.

“If everything works out it might be possible but it’s a difficult task to compete with those seven clubs over a season because their budgets are so much bigger.

“It’s not all down to the budgets, of course, but it’s a key factor.

“It’s not impossible, but you know it’s going to be hard.

“Like I said before, it’s always fulfilling to achieve the goals you set for yourself and the team.

“Of course you want to be in a team that competes for the Championship but it’s also satisfying to achieve the goals you set."