Pascali takes heart from improvements

PA Sport
Manuel Pascali is delighted with the way Kilmarnock have started the season
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Manuel Pascali is delighted with the way Kilmarnock have started the season

Manuel Pascali is buoyed by the growing belief that Kilmarnock no longer have to perform at their very best to win matches.

The Ayrshire club are in third place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League following recent 3-1 wins over both St Mirren and Hearts and, if results go their way, could go top if they beat Aberdeen at Rugby Park.

Killie skipper Pascali, 31, believes there is more of a resilience to Kenny Shiels' side this season which will stand them in good stead when they are struggling. The Italian said: "I am confident that something has changed. This season we have looked more solid.

He added: "In the past we have had to have everyone playing for their lives to win, everybody had to have a great performance.

"But this season I feel that we are capable of playing badly and winning matches.

"In my experience very good teams win matches even when playing badly, maybe 1-0 or 2-1 and we have to learn to do that and recently we have done that.

"Ross County was a good point for us, maybe in the past that wasn't happening, we were losing those matches previously.

"And against Hearts it wasn't the best performance in terms of football and against St Mirren we were struggling at the start, but we have the character to play badly and win."

Shiels continues to play down expectations and believes avoiding relegation would constitute a successful season for his side.

He said: "Because we have won a couple of games people raise expectations but we are Kilmarnock, we were seventh last season against massive adversity and having lost a lot of quality players in the summer - a lot of the goals went out of my team - if we can get away from the relegation zone then that will be an achievement of its own."

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