Damien Comolli encouraged by Liverpool progress

 

Liverpool's director of football Damien Comolli insists the overall progress being made at the club is even more important than winning the Carling Cup.

Sunday's victory over Cardiff on penalties gave the Reds their first silverware for six years and has led to renewed optimism of a return to the trophy-laden days of the past.

But Comolli believes even if they had not won at Wembley so much has been achieved since manager Kenny Dalglish returned as manager in January 2011 it would not have impacted on them moving forward.

And with his praise of the 60-year-old Scot he offered an insight into just how bad things had become during the final days of Roy Hodgson's dismal six-month reign.

"It is not only about getting us to the final or winning against Cardiff on penalties," said the Frenchman.

"The final was a bit of a lottery because you can score a penalty or miss a penalty and you are a hero or a zero, which is unfair.

"It is overall you judge the performance of the club and the progress - not just the penalty which goes in or out.

"What you want is a progression and I think for the last 12-14 months we are showing progression everywhere on and off the pitch in terms of squad structure, the players Kenny has to choose from, the young players the academy is producing and who are coming through.

"It is all positive. Someone asked me last week about Kenny doing a great job because we had got to the Carling Cup final but for me he has been doing a great job all around.

"He has done a tremendous job to put the team back on track and put a positive atmosphere back in the changing room and around the training ground.

"He is a positive person and gives confidence to everyone: to the staff, backroom staff and players.

"He has done brilliantly and I am happy to give him as much support as I can.

"It is not just about Sunday. If we had lost I would say exactly the same thing.

"From day to day we know exactly what we are doing. We have put a structure in place which I think will bring back success to the club."

Comolli, who was appointed by Fenway Sports Group a month after they bought Liverpool in October 2010, believes there is now a structure in place at the club which can deliver consistent success.

He was reluctant to compare the situation to the one he had when he was director of football at Tottenham when they won the Carling Cup in 2008 and have since gone from strength to strength.

What was more important, he said, was instilling belief back in the players who now had winners' medals to show for their efforts.

"It is not so much the similarities but winning a trophy brings you massive confidence and (Manchester City manager) Roberto Mancini said it last year.

"When you win the first one (City ended a 35-year drought by lifting the FA Cup) it brings a lot of good things throughout the club to everyone and I think it is the same thing [at Liverpool]," added Comolli.

"You cannot set a timetable for when trophies can come along. We needed a trigger and hopefully Sunday will be the trigger.

"We have so much to play for in the rest of the season and hopefully we can build up on what we have done.

"The Champions League is everyone's aim at the club. What you want to do when you are not in Europe as a club is do well in both domestic cups and because we are Liverpool we want to play in the Champions League.

"We have ticked one box, we are in the running for the two other boxes (Champions League and FA Cup).

"We are very ambitious and we do not want to stop here. Our season is not over here, it is just starting."

Comolli said plans were already taking shape over squad strengthening in the summer.

"We already know there are big players who want to join us because they believe in the project and what Kenny and the club are trying to do," he added.

"The fact we are playing in Europe and have won a trophy are all positive things.

"There is a positive vibe around the club around Europe."

PA

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