Greg Abbott on the Coventry game
United manager Greg Abbott gave us his reaction to the Coventry defeat on Saturday.
“This has been one of the toughest days I have had in football, to be honest,” he admitted. “It’s supposed to be an enjoyable game but I didn’t really enjoy anything about that.
“I can’t wait to get into work on Monday because there are some radical changes required in terms of the selection, the formations and the way we play. It all has to be done in a positive way because, the lads are distraught at the moment, but we definitely need to make changes to the way things are being done.”
“The lads are genuinely affected by what’s happening at the moment,” he continued. “We have got to work some magic into them to get them believing that they are miles better than what they’re showing.
“We’re going to find out if they can lift themselves because some of them have never been in this position before. This is where, again, you look to the senior players to give them a helping hand because a result like this is really damaging.
“The way we played was so uncontrolled. We didn’t get our passing game going and the two early goals killed any confidence we had. We now have to go again because we know what these lads are capable of. There needs to be complete bravery, determination and mental strength. I have that in bucket loads. I don’t know where it’s coming from, but it’s there. I have to find a way of getting that into the lads as well.”
“I’ll be honest, I was quite concerned yesterday [Friday] and I made the staff stay back because I didn’t think the standards had been anywhere near where they have been during training,” he revealed. “That worries me because you can usually go home on Friday thinking – yeah, they’re ok. They weren’t assured in the session we had at all and that always gives you problems as a manager. You then know it’s going to be an uphill battle.”
“We do need to do things differently but everyone knows we haven’t got a huge amount of funds,” he said. “But, with everyone fit, there is a much better team in that dressing room.
“They need to find their confidence and their form and I think they’ll get a lift next week with the return of Matt Robson and Lee Miller. With everything in place I guarantee that group will be a better team in a month’s time.
“My position is not for me to talk about. That’s for other people to talk about. I’ve got to look after that dressing room and I’m going to go in there on Monday and give them what they need. I have to keep going and try to get us out of this, that’s my job.
“I don’t want to hear the fans singing about me like that. I would prefer to hear them singing my name after a win because nobody likes that kind of thing. I’m not going to give in. It probably gives me the strength to fight even harder. There’s absolutely no chance of me giving in.
“I know how this game works and four or five wins, or four or five better performances, and the fans start to swing back to you. It’s not a personality thing, but they are sick of the three defeats. I agree with them on that and I want to try and put it right. I’ll be in on Monday to lift a group of players who are down at the moment. That’s all I’ll be thinking about.
“The dressing room is very fragile and hurt and the players are definitely lacking a bit of confidence. It is a very low place and there’s a real feeling that we’ve let everybody down. We have to find a remedy to put that right because we are at rock bottom as we sit here right now.”
“I take full responsibility because it’s me who puts the team together,” he added. “Whatever we’ve done over the early part of this season hasn’t been good enough. It’s been a shocking start to the season and we have to get out of it. This type of thing hurts like mad and it comes down to the fact that the team performance wasn’t good enough. I accept that criticism completely.”
“It’s time to go back to the drawing board and find a system which stops us from conceding goals,” he told us. “On too many occasions the game is finished early because we have let the other team score cheap goals. That has to stop.”
“I don’t feel down today in any way,” he said. “I’m as defiant today as I’ve ever been because the players need me now. We’ve taken a lot of hits this season and we now have to stand up and be counted. I am not going to give in. I will not give in. I expect to hear the same from my players.”
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