“It has been a mixed start to the season in the Championship,” the 24-year-old admitted ahead of the game against The Rams. “There are a lot of new players and it is almost a new team in fact. We are in a period of adaptation, but the new players will get there because it is a good group. There is a good chemistry between the attacking players. I have absolutely no fear that given time, everything will work out well. Derby was my first start back and it was great to win 3-0. Having then gone away and lost at Preston we need to make sure we shake ourselves down tomorrow and win. We will need to stay calm during the game and not lose our concentration. We are very motivated in search of the win.”
That start for Saïd against Derby County came at the end of a four-month recovery from an ankle injury picked up at the back end of last season. It was an injury which ultimately cost the Algerian international his spot in their squad for this summer’s Africa Cup of Nations, a tournament The Desert Foxes would go on to win.
“I could have been there but it is my country and I am so happy that they won, whether I was there or not,” answered Saïd when asked if he had any regrets about missing out. “I was really fortunate to be part of the group to begin with and it was fantastic that they were able to win the Africa Cup of Nations. It is football, and it is life, that there are those unseens which you can’t control. I was disappointed to not be there, but I didn’t cry over it. It made me hungrier to be involved in the future.”
Saïd enjoyed a remarkable debut campaign in West London, netting 11 goals, and contributing 17 assists, in 45 matches. It was that form, and the departure of Josh McEachran, which saw the former Nice player handed the number 10 shirt ahead of the new campaign. For Saïd, it is that type of man management which makes Thomas Frank such a joy to work with.
“Thomas is a coach who impresses me a lot,” said Saïd. “He is a coach who gives me a lot of confidence and who teaches me a lot. I don’t think there are many coaches who thinks about his players like Thomas does. It is magnificent to have a coach like that. He gave me the number 10 shirt which is something that I wanted. Josh McEachran joked last year that he would give me that shirt when he left. Getting that number from Thomas made me want to repay his faith in me even more. He’s given me so much and I’m really happy to work with him.”
And it is not just Thomas who has made an impression on Saïd during his time in the Sky Bet Championship.
Speaking about the reception he received when substituted against Derby County, Saïd admitted: “That was really enjoyable. The referee made me go off on the side which had never happened before. The reaction from the crowd to me was really beautiful. I should have (jumped in The Terrace) and finished the match in there. Maybe tomorrow if it happens I will.”