Cape Town - Ajax Cape Town goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola said he was still finding his feet in the Premiership, after what was a difficult first season in the South African top flight.
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While Jaakkola featured prominently during last season’s campaign, he never quite felt settled because the team struggled to produce positive results. However, the positive start that the team has had this term has helped the Finnish keeper make what he feels is a more meaningful contribution to the team’s cause.
"Obviously, last season was difficult because the team wasn’t doing very well. It was a long, long season for the team. We were at the bottom of the table for a long time," Jaakkola told Football411 on Friday.
"Then this season we have got a better start, where we were undefeated for the first few games.
"I am always very critical when it comes to how I play. When I let one goal in I am critical of myself. If I had a bad game, I take it hard. It stays with me when the next game starts and it is always on my mind," added the Finn.
Jaakkola admitted that not all had gone according to script for him this season, despite the team’s relative success during the current campaign. The Ajax Cape Town number one consistently puts pressure on himself to reach his full potential and advance the interests of the team.
"I have had a couple bad games this season. So, I am always trying to keep the level that I know I can do. I try to always do the best," added Jaakkola.
The reality is that Jaakkola is an experienced campaigner, who has performed consistently in European leagues. He does feel that he has a leadership role to play at Ajax but he also doesn’t want to assume too much of the responsibility off the field.
The 27-year-old stopper thinks that he is more effective on the field, adding that this was where he felt he could add more value.
"I am not really trying to take any role in front of the young guys. When it comes to being in the changing room, I like to keep it to myself. It is on the field where I try to be more vocal and be the calming character at the back. If I need to be more aggressive, then that is what I am going to do," he said.
"I know I can be quite harsh during the game but that is my way of playing. Before and after the games I don’t really like to take too much responsibility. I try to take more responsibility when I am on the field."