Blink and you’ll miss him … as well as his blistering pace and work-ethic, TNS’ Adrian Cieslewicz has started the new season with a bang after bagging three crucial goals to help the Saints pick up crucial wins in Europe and the JD Cymru Premier to start the season.
Now, hours removed from his next European adventure against B36 Torshavn, ‘Ciss’ is adamant that he and his teammates will do their talking on the pitch this season, after admitting that the Park Hall club didn’t deserve to win the JD Cymru Premier title last year.
“We’re feeling good ahead of the game against Torshavn.” Cieslewicz said. “The whole team is confident after coming through the previous round and starting the league campaign off very well on the weekend.
“We’ve prepared as well as possible and we’re just ready to go now. I think we feel in a better place as a team this year. Last season, we weren’t up to our usual standards throughout the season and we didn’t deserve to win the league.
“Whatever the reasons for that might be, the squad this year are much closer to each other this season than we were last term. We’ve strengthened well, and we feel more confident and stronger than last year, and we just want to do our talking on the pitch and look after ourselves. If we perform to what we’re capable of, we’re going to be ok.”
“The new signings have brought a lot to the team.”
In The New Saints’ first European outing this season, Cieslewicz was joined on the scoresheet by new signings Leo Smith and Louis Robles – both bagging goals on their European debuts for the club – whereas the third new signing at Park Hall, Ryan Astles, was instrumental at the back too.
Three young players with lots of quality, Astles, Robles and Smith have all added a lot to Scott Ruscoe’s side, and Cieslewicz notes how that youth and quality compliments what The New Saints already had within their squad.
“Leo has already brought goals to the team – he’s a very good attacking player, who is young and hungry to improve, and Louis Robles and Ryan Astles are all young players too, who bring a lot to the squad this season.
“We’ve got great depth in the team at the moment, with two very good players fighting for each position, which we maybe didn’t have last year, and we’ve brought some good young players through from the youth team, which is great for the club.
“On top of all that, we have the experienced players like myself and others who have been here for a long time now and know how to win tight games and trophies, so overall I think we have a great balance in the squad and we just want to do our talking on the pitch.”
“I still know where the goal is, thankfully!”
After a brief period of his career which had been riddled with injuries, Cieslewicz had an injury-free term last year and has started this term in very fine form with three goals to his name in all competitions already.
With Torshavn up next before a game against Cardiff Met on Sunday, who he has traditionally performed quite well against, how is the 29-year-old feeling about his performances so far?
“I definitely feel like I’ve had a more settled period than usual, in terms of fitness and injuries. Last season was more of a comeback season, really, trying to get through the year without any significant injuries, and I thankfully managed that.
“I think I performed quite well last season, but I hope the injuries and so on are behind me now and I have been pleased to chip in with a few goals to start this season off – I still know where the goal is, thankfully!
“I’m working as hard as I can to help this team and I want to give the manager as many headaches as possible so that it’s really difficult for him to leave me out.”
“We’re just lucky to be playing football at the moment.”
Having been to the Faroes before and faced Torshavn in the past, there will be nothing new about this evening’s game to Cieslewicz in terms of what to expect from the encounter, but the winger admits that the European occasions are still very special to him, and adds that in a global pandemic, it is incredible that the team are even playing a game at all.
“Even after playing in Europe over a number of years, I still enjoy these games as much now as I did the very first time I played in one. I’m always working hard to improve and give better performances, too.
“Yes, I scored twice on the weekend, but if we lose this game or on the weekend then nobody will remember nor care about those two goals I scored two games ago, so I’m always looking to do more and perform as well as possible to help the team.
“I’ve been in this situation so many times in Europe, come across all sorts of different challenges, but whether I play or not I’ll be giving everything to help the team however I can and make sure the whole team steps up on the day.
“I don’t think we were complacent last year, I just don’t think we performed well enough and not a lot went out way besides that. Last season is behind us and, with the world the way it is at the moment, we’re just lucky to be playing football at the moment so we’re looking forward to this next challenge and taking everything one game at a time after that.”