Brighton striker Aaron Connolly believes the absence of crowds is one of the reasons why we have seen so many surprise results in the opening month of the Premier League season.
Manchester United’s shocking 6-1 defeat at home to Tottenham’s and Liverpool’s astonishing 7-2 hammering at Aston Villa continued a trend of surprising results.
And Connolly is suggesting the empty stands due to the Covid-19 pandemic are playing a part in the madness.
“If there were fans in that stadium, I don’t think we see scores like United losing 6-1 and Liverpool losing 7-2,” stated Connolly, speaking to TEAMtalk at a FIFA 21 launch event.
“We are all grateful to have games on at the moment because it is tough with the pandemic. But the empty stands are strange.
“They say it’s the new normal and we are used to it now. But the fans are the 12th man when a team is down and they can lift you.
“When the only noise you hear is the manager on the touchline or the players talking to each other, it’s different. Having a crowd is so important and we realise that now more than ever now.
“If you go a goal behind, the fans can lift you and get you going again. But we are getting some strange results at the moment and I have to say some of the matches feeling like training ground games.
“We are all trying our best and giving everything to try and win matches, but it’s just weird.”
Getting fans back will be big boost
Brighton hosted a test event that saw 2,500 fans in attendance at their AMEX Stadium last month and Connolly hopes it was a sign of things to come.
“Getting the fans back in when it is safe to do so will be a big boost to everyone,” he added.
“The test game we had with fans went well and it was great to have people back in the stands. I was surprised how loud they were considering that is quite a small number. But you would like to think there is a way of getting fans back in small numbers in the near future.
“Obviously, it’s up to everyone to decide when it’s safe and that has to be the priority. But as a player, you want to be playing in front of a crowd.”
FIFA 21 from EA Sports is available now for PlayStation®4, Xbox One, PC via Origin™ and Steam plus Nintendo Switch.