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INTERVIEW: Fight for what I believe in

20 August 2013

The manager at his Tuesday press conference

Manager Greg Abbott spoke to the assembled press about the current situation at his weekly media conference on Tuesday afternoon.

"We're working exceptionally hard to put things right,” he said. “We got a good response from the players today and yesterday and we're getting smiles back on faces. 

“I thought last week's training was below par and I think you could tell they weren't confident in themselves. You can sometimes smell danger and we got found out in the end on Saturday. 

“That’s done now - we’ve drawn a line under it. I feel a lot better about this week and the lads look ready for the game on Friday.”

“The situation we're in can't really get much worse,” he admitted. “Football is all about results and performances and ours simply haven't been good enough. 

“We have to offer the fans a lifeline and we're all digging deep as a group to get ourselves out of this. I’ll stand with the group and I will fight with group, and we will turn it round. 

“I feel like we're taking on the world at the moment. We won't take this sort of result and it will change. Kav [Graham Kavanagh] and myself were probably as low as we've ever been on Saturday night, but we didn't let the players see that. 

“We came in on Monday morning and gave the lads a bit of comfort and an arm around their shoulder. In return for that we have demanded a huge response. 

“They've admitted that was what they needed – one of the players came up and said that confidence was low and they badly want to put this right – and you can see that they feel much better about themselves in training. We now go into the rest of this week in a completely different frame of mind.”

But with the fans rightly asking for answers as to why the season has started so badly, he said: “The fans are entitled to their opinions. I've said that before. I'm an England fan and I'm really disappointed with the performances of the various age groups over the summer. I sit there and ask – what’s going wrong? 

“Our fans will be out there now asking that same question about us. I think the criticisms are justified. I've got no problem with the fans complaining at the moment because I haven't got much to argue with. We haven't been good enough. We know that and we're determined to put it right for everyone.

“John [Nixon] has been sympathetic because he knows the situation, but he has said that things have to improve. He’s a decent fella and he’s seen that there is a remedy there. There’s no room for excuses now that the main bulk of the group is back because we just have to be better. 

“I haven’t been given an ultimatum because pressure just brings decreased performance. They [the board] might have an ultimatum in their own heads but what’s the point in telling me? I can’t try any harder than I already am, and I know what happens with the industry we’re in. I don’t need anybody to tell me we aren’t playing well. I know that.” 

“I’m in the firing line and that’s the industry we work with,” he reiterated. “If we win the next ten games people will think I’m a fantastic manager again. 

“In any walk of life, you want to be successful. If you aren’t then sometimes people decide they need to make a change. We sit here as proud as we can be and you have to take the good with the bad. At the moment it’s not quite so good, so you stand responsible and you try to do something about it.”

“You’re fighting a situation - you’re not fighting anybody in particular,” he continued. “I don’t want to be gardening or shopping on a Saturday. I want to be in a dug out and I want to be working with football people. This is a determined character who is ready to fight for what I believe in. 

“I think it was 52 managers and their staff who got sacked last year. That’s over half, so it is a tough business. At the rate I’m going, it can’t go on too much longer like this – that’s obvious to everyone. 

“But that’s where you have to believe that the work we do will improve it and take us away from that danger. It’s very difficult, but I will get through it. This job is all I’ve known since I was 14 years old and I want to continue doing it.” 

“I think we should all demand more than what we’ve seen so far,” he insisted. “It’s been a really tough start and, yes, there are some reasons and excuses.

“But let’s not divorce ourselves from all responsibility. There has to be a level of performance there that’s acceptable. I don’t think our performances – including my own – have been anywhere near good enough. If we can accept that together then we have a chance of putting it right. 

“The fans have been really fair with us over my time here because, if we’ve lost when we’ve shown commitment and attitude, then they’ve been absolutely fine. I don’t think they would ever be pleased with what we’ve done this season. 

“I think the criticism we’ve had for this has been fair, honest and possibly even deserved. We’re all really hurting at the moment and we want to stop having to feel that way.”

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 on United Player, and to subscribe.

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