October 6, 2012
Pascali takes heart from Killie improvements
Team Stat Comparison
|Goals for *||1.3||1.2|
|Goals against *||1.5||1.5|
|Last 5 home||L-L-L-L-D||D-W-W-D-L|
|Last 5 away||W-L-W-L-D||D-D-D-L-L|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: Kilmarnock | Aberdeen|
|3/14||H: Celtic||3/22||H: Kilmarnock|
|3/22||A: Aberdeen||3/25||A: Ross County|
|3/29||A: Motherwell||3/29||H: Dundee United|
|4/5||H: St Johnstone||4/2||A: Heart of Midlothian|
Manuel Pascali is buoyed by the growing belief that Kilmarnock no longer have to perform at their very best to win matches.
The Ayrshire club are in third place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League following recent 3-1 wins over both St Mirren and Hearts and, if results go their way on Saturday, could go top if they beat Aberdeen at Rugby Park.
Killie skipper Pascali, 31, believes there is more of a resilience to Kenny Shiels' side this season which will stand them in good stead when they are struggling.
"I am confident that something has changed,'' said the Italian.
"This season we have looked more solid. In the past we have had to have everyone playing for their lives to win, everybody had to have a great performance.
"But this season I feel that we are capable of playing badly and winning matches.
"In my experience very good teams win matches even when playing badly, maybe 1-0 or 2-1 and we have to learn to do that and recently we have done that.
"Ross County was a good point for us, maybe in the past that wasn't happening, we were losing those matches previously.
"And against Hearts it wasn't the best performance in terms of football and against St Mirren we were struggling at the start, but we have the character to play badly and win.''
Pascali smiled at the prospect of going top of the SPL table and said: "We will see at five o'clock on Saturday, but that will be a fantastic starting point.
"If we have a good performance and are lucky to have three points and Motherwell don't have a good result then we could be top of the league for maybe 24 hours and that would be fantastic for everybody.
"But the league unfortunately is not finishing on Saturday or Monday so we haven't achieved anything yet.
"But obviously you like your work better when you are (up) there instead of at the back.
"I have plenty of confidence for this season. I don't want to think that because we beat Hearts 3-1 last week then Aberdeen at home could maybe be an easy one. It is going to be tough.''
Mark Reynolds has urged Aberdeen to head into the international break on a high by claiming another victory over Kilmarnock.
The Dons secured a morale-boosting win over Hibernian last week - only their second in the Premier League this season - following a string of draws.
Now that they have managed to deliver the points as well as the performance, Reynolds wants to see more of the same on Saturday.
The defender said: "If we get another win, it puts the opening set of games in a great light for us.
"It looks like a great start, which is very important.
"It would be good to keep the momentum going and get another good result and go into the international break on a high.''
Reynolds knows the Dons have been criticised for the lack of wins despite their encouraging displays and having suffered just one defeat to Celtic.
He added: "The mood is good, it's been good all season.
"We've been putting in some good performances and just not getting the results.
"It's justified now that we have gone out and played well and managed to get the result.
"It puts our other results in a better light now and it puts us back in amongst it.
"If we'd lost or drawn again at the weekend, we might have been cast adrift a bit at the bottom of the league. That win gets us right in amongst it.
"The boys have been solid all year. We've never felt we've been outplayed or outclassed or felt out of our depth in any games.
"We were undefeated and it was starting to look bad because it was so many draws so to get the three points at the weekend was massive.
"It's massive in terms of how people are looking at the club and viewing us as a team.''
Reynolds expects Kilmarnock to pose an attacking threat but backed the Dons defence to cope with whatever the Ayrshire club throws at them.
He said: "They're doing well, they're scoring goals, they're causing problems and they've got a bit of pace - and that's vital.
"If you look at any team that's been successful in the SPL, they've always had pace.
"But we are as capable of handling them as any other team in the league.
"If you look at the defence we've got, we've got strength in depth in the squad.
"I don't think too many teams have caused us problems at the back.''