Assistant manager on Tuesday night
Assistant manager Graham Kavanagh spoke to us about the home defeat to Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday evening.
He said: “I think Saturday is as low as we’ve felt for a long, long time.
“There’s a way to lose a game and that’s to go down fighting like we did tonight. We competed all across the park and we were in the game for long periods. They were a better side than us, there’s no doubt about that, and they controlled the first half for long periods.
“We stayed in the game and it was important for us to get the first goal of the second half. We did that and I thought we were on the ascendancy. We conceded three goals which we are going to be disappointed with, but with the run we’re on at the moment things have been difficult.
“Their two goals coming so close together in the first half ripped the guts out of what we were trying to do. You could see that the spirit of the lads was broken a little bit because they had competed really well up to that point. To be fair to Doncaster they played their system well and they caused us one or two problems.
“We just needed a little bit extra in the second half but the commitment and the effort from the boys was first class. I think when you’re losing games confidence is always an issue. That’s the same no matter what level you are at. Things aren’t going right for us and we’ve had a huge part to play in our own downfall recently.
“It’s no good feeling sorry for ourselves though because we just have to push on. If we can get this level of intensity and drive then we’ll start turning these performances into positive results.
“We went with a system which we thought would suit us best. We thought the presence of Mark Beck up front would give them something to think about and Dave Symington digs balls out for crosses when he has no right to do it. It’s unbelievable at times as to the quality he can produce. If you get good movement to go with that then you are going to get goals.
“Conceding the amount of goals we are at the moment here is horrible for us. We’ve said all along that we want to make this place a fortress and that certainly hasn’t happened this season. We haven’t kept a clean sheet for a long time but we can’t just blame the back four and the keeper. We’ve conceded two from set pieces and that is something we have to improve on. We all know that things go against you when you’re on a run like this, but we’re not going to throw the towel in.
“We believe in what we’re doing and the lads believe in us. I have no doubt that we have the quality in the dressing room to turn this round. The number of goals we’ve conceded isn’t acceptable but we need a bit of luck as well. Every bounce or ricochet is leading to a goal and that’s tough for us. All we can do is keep working hard on the training ground to make sure we’re prepared and ready for every game.
“I can’t believe with the squad we have here that we are a bottom four side. It’s no good just saying that though – we have to get out there and prove it. My advice to the players at the moment is that they don’t look at the table. We know it isn’t going to be great based on the fact that we haven’t won games. In this league, if you get two wins on the bounce you jump up. The aim for us at the moment is to get those victories.
“The manager was angry on Saturday, and rightly so, because we all let ourselves down. He is in a much better frame of mind now because even though the result is a poor one there was spirit and belief. If you have that then you will start to win games.
“The dressing room knows the implications of not getting results and credit to them because they all want to perform for him [Greg Abbott]. He is a fighter and he knows that this is all part of football. This is definitely the toughest time we’ve been through but we know that the work we’ve done so far has helped the club to improve. There’s a lot of football still to be played and we just need one or two results to run for us and we’ll be back on track.
“When this kind of thing happens you start to ask questions of yourself and of the group as a whole. You look at the way you train and you ask yourself if you’re doing everything you can. I think we have to say that we’ve trained at a really high level of intensity and for the most part over the last four years we have seen performances which have reflected that.
“What we need right now are people who are prepared to stick their chests out every day and come into work ready to do things properly. We need to get back to basics and make sure we do our jobs individually and collectively. You have to be able to look yourself in the mirror and know that you are doing your job as thoroughly and professionally as you can. If you are then that’s fine.
“The fans were absolutely brilliant. When it’s like that, with them behind us and cheering us on, it makes it a much easier place to play. We’ll keep plugging away and hopefully they’ll stick with us and help us through it. We need numbers through the gate because if they stop coming then the situation is only going to get worse. We need as many people with us as possible to help us to turn it round.”
United Player subscribers can see a video interview with Graham Kavanagh now. To access the interview, click HERE. Follow the same link for more information on United Player, and to subscribe.