Greg Abbott on the Brentford game
United manager Greg Abbott gave us his reaction to the 0-0 draw against Brentford shortly after full time.
“This has been a really long week and I don’t mind admitting that I feel emotionally drained,” he said. “We put a lot of hours in yesterday as we tried to find players to come in and make us better and we always knew that we’d be up against a really good team when we came here.
“Brentford are very strong on their own ground and we’ve had to put in a massive shift to come away with a point. The dressing room is really upbeat because that’s a second away game where they’ve come and got something. We’ve got to take a bit of heart from that and we have got to build on it for the sake of everybody.”
“We talked all week about being tough and difficult to break down – but that’s all just talk,” he continued. “The test comes when you have to go out and do it. The most pleasing thing for me from the performance was the ‘nil’ against our name. We’ve worked exceptionally hard to get that and I’m pleased for the lads that they got it.
“It all becomes even more worthwhile when you see the reaction from the fans who made the journey down here. They were outstanding for us and they all wanted to stay behind at the end. We want to see them clapping and smiling like that and hopefully, given time, there’ll be much more of it.”
“We can’t make too many excuses for some of the things which have happened so far,” he admitted. “But we’ve always said that when we get strong players and senior players back and involved in the group then we’ll be able to carry the younger lads along.
“We can’t throw them in at the deep end too much because, as we’ve seen, they get found out. If we have players who know the league around and about them then they’ll get there quicker than if we expose them to too much of the stuff which will only serve to knock them back.
“We know that we need our bigger players involved and, when we have that, we know we’re going to do well over the course of the season. There’s been a massive improvement over the last two league performances and that’s because we’ve had more of that kind of player available. We’ve got our group together and we’re making a fist of it. That’s all any of us want.
“I’m delighted for all of the lads because they are fighting the results and the reaction they’ve had. The honesty and energy they put into that performance was sensational. When you have that kind of attitude then you have a fighting chance. They’re listening and they really want to turn things round. That tells me it will happen. We should definitely come away feeling satisfied from what just happened.”
And on new arrival Troy Archibald-Henville, he said: “It looks like we’ve added a player who could be a real colossus for us. He’s a really good player. He has another four or five games to keep proving that to us.
“He played really and it looked like there wasn’t much that he couldn’t cope with. We had two big, tough centre halves out there today and that’s usually one of the keys to having a successful team in this division.”
“We have so much honesty in that dressing room it’s fantastic,” he said. “ Are we best team in the league? Probably not. Are we the worst team? Definitely not. What we get from them is a desire to do as well as they can.
“We all sat down on Wednesday morning and had an emotion-filled meeting because it was one where anyone could say anything they wanted. We pointed fingers, we questioned each other and we ended up very determined to give a good account of ourselves. We saw the reaction to that this afternoon and we need to keep seeing more of the same as we go on from here.”
The last half hour of the game, of course, was played against ten men following the red card shown to central defender Tony Craig.
“Sometimes, when you’re in a situation like ours, you are more frightened of losing,” he told us. “We knew we had to get a result out of the game and it was important for us to keep our shape and discipline. If we’d pushed on and they’d nicked one, which they are more than capable of, then that could have knocked the confidence even more than it already has been.
"The first step for us is to get that confidence back because the group has been fragile. That’s why we told the lads to keep going and to make sure they came away with something to show for what was a fantastic effort.”