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INTERVIEW: A collective effort

24 August 2013

Manager on the Colchester draw

United manager Greg Abbott gave us his reaction to the away draw at Colchester on Friday evening.

“We’re really pleased with what we’ve done tonight,” he said. “There was a determination in the dressing room before kick off to start to put things right and this was a massive collective effort because of what has happened to us over the first four games.

“Everyone blames the manager in these situations, and that’s fine, but it needs everyone to come together if it’s going to be sorted out. We got the response from the players we asked for because we saw them putting their bodies on the line and fighting for each other. 

“We had players coming down with cramp and others who didn’t want to come off when we were making substitutions. That type of thing gives you huge encouragement going forward.”

“We defended really well as a group and with a bit more confidence and belief we might just have got that second goal,” he continued. “That didn’t happen for us but we have plenty to feel really positive about.

“We’ve got our bigger players back and that makes a huge difference. Having said that, we lost Sean O’Hanlon 20 minutes before kick off and that could have been a huge blow. However, we brought Paul Thirlwell in and he has put in a tremendous performance. He worked well off Danny Livesey, who was back to somewhere near his best, and we saw a lot of players who suddenly looked like they were growing in confidence right across the pitch.”

“Danny Butterfield showed his experience and he managed the game really well,” he said. “We need that kind of thing at the moment. We’ve just said in the dressing room that this is a start for us and we believe that we’re a decent side. We haven’t shown that enough yet, but we’ve given ourselves a real springboard with the work we have done in this game.”

“This was an important game for a number of reasons and the lads rose to the challenge,” he added. “The experienced players made us look a much better side and we need to bring the younger players into that bit by bit. 

“The formation we played suited us because of the way we wanted to approach the game. We feel we’ve been far too open defensively and that couldn’t continue. The results have been shocking and they have to improve, that’s a fact, and this is a step towards that. 

“We’ve put in a good performance and we should be pleased that we’re able to talk about that, particularly with what has gone before.  We have rightly been criticised because we have been nowhere near good enough. We need more of this type of performance now so that we can put all of that behind us. 

“The fans gave their players a standing ovation tonight and that is a very good sign. It must feel better for the players to hear and see that so, hopefully, they’ll go after more of the same.”

“I don’t feel any pressure at all,” he insisted. “It’s other people who talk about that. I just continue to do my job in the best way I can. I’m able to do it much better when our best players are available. 

“This game was all about working together and fighting together to make life as difficult as possible for the opposition. If you get beat doing that then you can accept it better than if you have just rolled over and given away a result.”

“We still have work to do and the best way to win people back is to keep the good performances and results coming. The lads have set a standard for themselves now and they have to demand from themselves that they maintain it.”

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