'If you haven't got team spirit it will mean nothing' (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Leyton Orient striker Kevin Lisbie insists team spirit is key to their surge to top of League One
Kevin Lisbie believes Leyton Orient’s team spirit has been the secret to their success this season.
The O’s have set the early pace in League One with three consecutive victories taking them top of the table. Striker Lisbie insists the togetherness in the changing room is helping them on the pitch and is a key factor in their winning habit.
The former Charlton Athletic forward said: “No matter how good your team is or how many good players you’ve got, if you haven’t got team spirit it will mean nothing. I think that’s what we had out there at the weekend and we’ve had it for the last four games.”
Lisbie has enjoyed his best start to a season at the tender age of 34. The influential Orient striker netted the winner at Stevenage on Saturday which took his tally to four goals in as many games. The Jamaican forward believes being able to concentrate on staying in a central position in attack and feeding off the service of in-form wingers Moses Odubajo and Dean Cox is paying off.
Lisbie said: “It has to be the best start to the season for me with four games and four goals. It’s unbelievable and as I get older I seem to be doing less running in the channels and more in the box now which is what I want to do. With people like Cox, Mooney (David), Lloyd (James) and Mo, that’s what I can do sometimes and just get in the box and hopefully get a chance.”
He added: “It’s got to do with the manager as well. He gives us a lift and it helps when you have players like Coxy, Moons and Mo around me. They pretty much do all my running for me. I do put a shift in but with them in the side you are always going to get goals if you get in the box.”
A pin-point cross from Odubajo set up Lisbie’s latest goal and the veteran insists this was a move crafted on the training ground.
Lisbie admitted: “It’s getting to the point now where you know what he [Odubajo] is going to do so me, Mooney and [Shaun] Batt are going to get goals because game by game he seems to be getting better. I think we’re going to get a lot of goals through him and Coxy.
“It was an unbelievable cross and you don’t expect it to be that good but it was. If you come and watch us train we practice that all the time so it’s come off and paid off for us.”
Despite their exceptional start to the campaign, Orient are only considered seventh favourites for League One and are still available at 20/1. The bookies don’t fancy the O’s to stay at the top but Lisbie insists the squad are good enough if they remain focused.
“It’s going to be down to us,” he said. “If we take our foot of the pedal then no. But if we keep our foot on the pedal then we are one of the better sides in the division. The best teams have good attitudes and can grind out results so we’ll see.”
As well as scoring once, Lisbie could have had a couple of penalties last weekend and the experienced striker could not understand why he was booked for diving after being brought down by Chris Day.
Last year’s player of the season said: “I’m going to say it was a penalty. The keeper didn’t get any of it but the ball wasn’t close to me and I understand why the ref didn’t give it but I don’t understand why he booked me.
“I felt like I tapped it past him and it’s one of those where he can give a penalty or say I wasn’t going to get the ball, but you could never say it was a dive unless I can just disappear and then reappear on the other side of the keeper.”
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