Reina: Forget my 100th clean sheet, the win was more important
Published 23:00 07/12/10 By David Maddock
Pepe Reina would swap all his individual records for the chance to be part of a Liverpool team that becomes great again.
The Reds keeper wrote a little piece of Anfield history on Monday night, when his shutout against Aston Villa saw him become the fastest to 100 clean sheets in the league.
The Spaniard reached the important landmark in 198 games, which outstrips even Anfield legends Ray Clemence and Bruce Grobbelaar.
Reina appreciates the recognition such a record brings, but he revealed after the game, with Liverpool now up to eighth in the table, that collective glory is his real aim.
“A record is nice to achieve, but it is down to the enormous team-mates I’ve had for the last five and a half years. So I am pleased but at the same time thankful to them,” he explained.
“It is all about the team, and what we should be aiming to achieve. I have spoken about the need to strengthen the squad and build for the future, and that still stands.
“Yes, getting results makes it more difficult to talk about these things, yes. I do not want to be annoying and saying the same thing.
“But we have to expect Liverpool to be with the top clubs and that is on the manager, the new board and the new owners to develop that. All we can do is play as well as we can.”
Reina has played his part in the recent Anfield revival, with Liverpool showing some impressive form, particularly at home.
And after the emphatic victory over Villa, Liverpool can now begin to aim a stolen glance at the places above them again, with fourth spot and a Champions’ League berth not out of reach, despite their poor start to the campaign.
The keeper believes that his side still can fight with the likes of City and Spurs for a European berth come the end of the season, but he knows that events around the turn of the year - both on and off the pitch - will have a massive effect on the campaign.
“We know Christmas is crucial and after those four games we can talk about where the team should aim and where the team is going to be,” Reina said.
“We said when we played Birmingham that we all knew that it would take a while because new ideas, a new manager, new players coming it would take time to get ourselves on the right track and hopefully we can build from a good foundation.
“I know I am always saying these things, but we have to look to the new board to develop things too. But anything is still possible in this league. We have more confidence now and we have to aim a bit higher.
“We know anyone can beat anyone and that has been shown many times this season. The league is a bit fractured. We have to be consistent and find that balance that makes us stay up there and fight to be as high as possible.”
While Reina is reluctant to take too much praise for his own achievements, his team-mates queued up after the Villa game to laud their dependable keeper.
Dirk Kuyt believes that the Spanish international has now reached the top of his profession, and is vying for the title of best keeper in the world.
“It’s no surprise that Pepe has broken the record - it is a great achievement by him, and shows his quality,” Kuyt said.
“Everyone here knows what a fantastic goalkeeper he is, and he proved it again. There’s no doubt he right up there as one of the very best in the world and we are getting used to him breaking records.”