The translation is “back to your best” in Spanish. I posted last night with a picture of Pablo Hernandez bending his free-kick around a baffled and helpless Burton Albion wall and goalkeeper saying I held my hands up, he is back to his best form, and it’s true, I have been very critical of the midfielder during the early stages of the season, and he is now getting nothing but praise from me since the last break.
There are a few things that have contributed to the resurgence in form of Pablo Hernandez and I’ll try to cover everything I believe has pushed him back to his best form. The first is that the pressure has been lifted in a good way, rather than a case of him not performing. At the start of the season it was a straight battle between Herandez and new arrival Samu Sais for the number 10 jersey, and there was only ever going to be one winner. It didn’t take long for Saiz to claim the number 10 spot either and that left Pablo Hernandez with questions to answer. Where could he play or does he sit on the bench until another chance comes along? He was quickly moved to play on the left and early signs were that he wasn’t having the same effect from the wider position. It did free up Saiz when Hernandez played though, and the poor run began with seven defeats in nine games.
During the run Pablo Hernandez was dropped and for me it was the correct decision. I was critical of him during the wins at the start of the season and for me it was highlighted when the team began to lose, he wasn’t the only one but his drop in form had been a steady decline since the turn of the year with a few good games here and there. The turning point was an appearance off the bench at Brentford where he and Kemar Roofe helped swing the game back in the favour of Leeds, before Thomas Christiansen undid all his hard work by bringing Grot on, and the momentum shifted again, another loss. Hernandez then started after the break against his old boss Garry Monk at Boro and he was brilliant. A goal and an assist and since then the performances have been a much higher standard. He hasn’t played great in the last couple of games but he has come up with two moments of magic to help pull us through.
I think one of the main reasons he is playing so well is that all the pressure isn’t just on him to create now. Last season when he didn’t play well it was left up to Chris Wood to bail us out, and unfortunately that was basically the entire second half of the season. Hernandez simply wasn’t turning up and at the start of this season I felt like he wasn’t performing. Now the likes of Alioski, Saiz and Roofe are all contributing the strain has been lifted, especially when he plays from the left. He has began to do his work going backwards which wasn’t the case a few months back and he seems much more confident and happy in himself since the last break. With the three of Pablo, Alioski and Saiz in behind Roofe we look very threatening and unpredictable. I’m glad that Pablo is back to what we expect, I know some thought I was being very harsh earlier this season but the way I see it is that if players are capable of better, you should strive for better. It’s football, your praised in the good times and criticised in the hard times, that’s why you get paid the big bucks.