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INTERVIEW: I agree with the criticism

28 August 2013

Manager on the Leicester game

United manager Greg Abbott gave us his reaction to the Leicester City Capital One Cup game on Tuesday night.

“I felt that we under-performed,” he said. “Leicester are a quality side and the gulf was very difficult for us to breach in the end. 

“The positive to take from it is that we were ok in the first half. We created some good chances and we spoke to the lads about keeping the ball and about working harder to stop them from having so much possession after the break.

“When you give the ball back to players with this quality as much as we did then you’re going to struggle. On top of that we made individual and collective errors and the manner of the first three goals was massively disappointing. The confidence was knocked and we started to look ragged and we have to do something to stop that from happening.”

“We went from looking like a decent outfit to being on the back foot again,” he continued. “They fought back and ended the game well but that spell just before and after half time lost us the game. It’s important that we find some toughness and steel in our play because conceding goals in this manner is really, really disappointing.

“The errors have got to stop. People are given specific roles in the team and they have to be better in those roles or we are going to struggle. We have to keep it in context, because Leicester are a very good side, but there’s no doubt that the confidence has been rocked again.”

“The disappointing thing as a manager was that we didn’t do the stuff which comes free,” he explained. “We stopped closing down and tackling and we weren’t tracking our runners. That’s worrying for all of us because it’s something we should expect to see just as part of our game. 

“I think there is a real confidence problem and we have to do what we can to get over that. I want my players to go out there believing that they can win games and that they can compete. The work before the weekend will be with that in mind.”

“When it comes to our defending, we have an Achilles heel which we have to do something about,” he said. “It could be that we will have to change the system yet again, because we have to make sure that we’re a stronger unit. The players have to do their jobs properly because they are making life hard for themselves at the moment.”

“I agree with the criticism from the fans completely,” he told us. “I just want people to go out and fight for this club. If you get knocked down, you get back up and go again. It’s something we’ve identified and we talk about it with the players all the time. We have got to be tougher. 

“A performance like this has heaped a whole new pile of pressure on everybody connected with the club again. It’s up to the players to dig themselves out of it. 

“They need to find another big performance on Saturday because a run like this is unacceptable. It becomes harder and harder to get out of a hole if you keep allowing your confidence to be knocked. We’re going to keep getting this reaction from the fans until we stop conceding goals.”

“We probably just about get the benefit of the doubt after this game because of the quality of the opposition,” he said. “However, if it had been a league game then the pressure would be massively on us now. 

“We would like to shake things up and move things around but it isn’t always that easy. Other clubs have to want to take players from us – if that isn’t the case then we have to work with what we have. I think we need one or two hungry animal types who are aggressive and who will put their bodies on the line. The flair players lose their way when the team isn’t passing the ball well enough so we need a bit of a mix to help each other along.

“Having said that, I know we have the players here to get us out of this. They aren’t showing us that at the moment, but they are an honest group and I have no doubt they are hurting. Hopefully we’ll see the response we want sooner rather than later because everyone needs a lift.”

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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