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INTERVIEW: Has to be just the start

30 December 2012

Greg Abbott on the Bury game

United manager Greg Abbott gave us his reaction to the entertaining victory over Bury on Saturday evening.

He said: “We played really well in the first half and we were probably guilty of thinking that we’d won the game with the goals we got early on. They put us under a lot of pressure in the second half but it’s all about results at this stage of the season.

“The character the lads showed was unbelievable. Our fans got a little bit fractious today because they wanted us to go on and win it by three or four goals. We’re not as powerful as we’d like to be yet but we worked hard and we saw it through.

“We're still not where we want to be because we’ve had James Berrett who has been injured and who also felt ill, Chris Chantler has an ankle which is black and blue, and we have other lads who are rolling their sleeves up and doing their job for the cause despite having their niggles. This group is magnificent because of things like that.

“The first half an hour of the first half was us getting back to where we want to be. I told them at half time that Bury were going to make life hard for us and, fair play to them, because that’s what they did. Credit to our lads as well, though, because they coped. 

“We picked up a bit of criticism in the second half for not leaving anyone forward for their corners. The reason for that is because we have been criticised immensely this season for conceding lots of goals at home. 

“It’s imperative that we change that, and that we defend our goal. There’s no better way than doing that than by having bodies in there to do the job. We didn’t concede from any of their set pieces because we defended them really well. All of the top teams do it because they don’t want to concede cheap goals either. That’s the reason why we use everybody to defend the free kicks and corners.

“This has to be just the start of things for us. We’ve got a long way to go this season but our points tally looks much better for us. Another two or three good performances now would see us looking the other way all of a sudden. We’re getting all of our players back slowly but surely and we’re getting more in the way of options. It’s a unique dressing room, because everybody likes and respects each other, and we’re starting to get those little bits of luck which go along with that. 

“That save from Mark Gillespie when it was still 1-0 is one of the best I have ever seen. It was up there with the one Jim Montgomery made in the FA Cup final - Sunderland against Leeds. It was a great header and he had to dive and arch back to get it. He got the man of the match award but it’s good that there were three or four who had decent games for us again. There aren’t too many 20-year old keepers playing regularly in the game today so he has to take a pat on the back for that. He has Adam [Collin] working away in the background because he wants his shirt back, and that’s a good situation for us. It’s been a good game for Mark but he has to do that regularly before he can say he’s made it.

“The round of applause at the end shows that everybody was delighted to get the win. You can see signs that the form and the way we want to play are there for us again, and that’s pleasing. Two back-to-back wins is fantastic for these lads because they have worked really hard for it. 

“I went into the dressing room at full time ready to have a bit of a grumble, to be honest. But they were so high, having just won another game, that I had to temper my response. I did point out a few things that need to be better, but overall we have to acknowledge that they have battled and scrapped their way to a good win for us.”

United Player subscribers can see a video interview with Greg Abbott now. Click HERE to go to the Player platform. Follow the same link for more information on United Player, and to subscribe.

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