When West Bromwich Albion made the decision to sack Roberto Di Matteo, one of the biggest potential dissenters was Peter Odemwingie.
The Italian had invested much of his faith in the 29-year-old striker after the club brought him in from Lokomotiv Moscow. The two men were close.
But looking back now, Odemwingie accepts that the decision to bring in Roy Hodgson was the correct one.
As it stands, Albion are on the verge of Premier League survival. Given that other clubs in worse positions have yet to play each other so some clubs will fail to make up the points – Albion’s current haul of 39 might even be enough to seem tham over the line.
Odemwingie believes Albion’s change of the guard came at the right time, no matter how much it surprised him when it happened.
“His (Hodgson’s) mentality is probably the main thing,” said Odemwingie.
“He’s got us playing well but he’s a very strong person with real character, and he makes sure the team is always extremely well organised and focused.
“I must say, too, that I still admire Roberto Di Matteo because we played some great football under him earlier in the season.
“But I do think we started relaxing after starting so well and began to think the job was done. Maybe the previous manager lost a bit of control when that started happening.
“We felt that we had to put in some extra effort because everyone wants to stay up.
“Roy Hodgson is definitely doing a great job and we look very organised so those things are making the difference for us.
“We’re getting more confidence game after game and we know that is key to these victories.
“We have played to instructions, stayed very focused and worked hard and, of course, we have all of the quality to create goals.
“We have a very good midfield. I can name five or six players who have a nice pass and a good shot.
“But we have all those things added to organisation. Most of our training sessions are about that and up front he leaves us to do things on our own.
“It’s obvious from the team spirit that he is a stronger person and he’s really got everyone knuckled down in training and working hard and that transfers into a good performance in the game.
“Of course he gives us a few tips on where to position ourselves up front but overall we are more concentrated on our organisation.
“First of all it’s about his approach to the training process, which is very important. I remember once he mentioned how many minutes we had left in training and he’s not there to mess about in any of the minutes. Even if we have one minute left he is going to use it.
“But once training has ended he is another person. He walks with you and jokes with you and talks about different things.
“In the performances you can see a little bit of the seriousness and competition is back in the team.
“After that we have quality players who can score goals. We have 39 points and I think we need two more wins to be sure of survival.
“We have tough games now against Tottenham and Newcastle away which will be difficult, as will Everton at home.
“After the game against Liverpool the manager mentioned to us that it was a great result but we’re still not safe and we will still have to fight to stay up.”
Odemwingie’s 12-goal haul this season has ended Robert Earnshaw’s run as Albion’s leading goalscorer during a Premier League season.
The Nigeria international has inevitably been linked with a move away from Albion. Juventus were supposedly in talks with the club, while Newcastle were reported to have enquired about him in January.
Both stories were, to put it politely, bunkum and simply not true, according to sources close to the Hawthorns.
And Odemwingie is happy to stick around at B71.
“Speculation doesn’t affect me anymore although it did when I was younger,” said Odemwingie.
“Back then it got into my head. When I was in Belgium with La Louviere I was told AC Milan were watching me.
“They came to watch me and I had some strange thoughts in my head and it affected me.
“Now I’m in England the Premier League gets exposure everywhere and it’s normal. People watch it in Europe and across the world so I don’t think about being watched these days – it doesn’t bother me.
“And I want my long-term future to be in England. I like the country, I like the League. If goals keep coming then I will hopefully maintain my presence at the club and remain popular.
“In football you never know but if I’m satisfied with my contract here, enjoying my time at the club and happy then I will stay here while they want me.
“I enjoy it here. The club wants to go somewhere. The first step of course is to see what we can build.
“This year the trial was to try to stay up. Next season we will have another target if we stay up – to do better than this season.
“With confidence next season we can maybe try to get into the top 10 because we have to show ambition.
“After that perhaps to get into the Europa League. It’s a gradual process and a matter of trying to do it.
“We know if we want big results and progress then we need to spend money.
“The bottom line is that you never know what’s round the corner in football but all I can say right now is that I’m very happy here at West Brom.
“I’m not anxious to move again. Transfers can always happen but this club gave me a chance in England and, as long as I’m happy and I’m scoring goals, I’ve no problem staying here.”
Odemwingie still has two more aims this season. One, survival, has been virtually assured.
The other is to match his best-ever personal record for goals scored during a season.
“I’ve never scored more than 14 in any season, so I have five games left to make it happen now,” he continued. “I’ll fight until the last minute of the last game to get there. Whatever happens though, it’s been a great season for me.”