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MANAGER: Believe in themselves

2 December 2013

Reaction to the Swindon game

United manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the away game at Swindon at the weekend.

“First of all I have to say that the fans were magnificent for us again,” he said. “We’re so disappointed that we haven’t given them anything to take away because they were right with us all the way through. The lads are gutted because they really wanted a performance and a result.”

“First of all we have to hold our hands up and say we were beaten by the better team” he continued. “They passed it and moved it better and we didn’t cause them enough in the way of problems, particularly in the final third. That will always be disappointing. 

“It was one of those days where things didn’t go our way and we didn’t get many decisions at all. That was the same for both sides, which is strange, and it does affect the game. The obvious big decision was when David Amoo went down and, whether it was inside the box or not, it was a definite foul. The referee told me afterwards that it was a slip and things like that are hard to take.

“However, we’re not going to use that as an excuse for the defeat. Like I say, they controlled long periods of the game and we know we were nowhere near the standards we have set ourselves. We got back to 1-1 with a great finish from Sean [O’Hanlon] and at that point you think we might go on to get something. But the first goal comes from a mistake and the second one comes when Nobsa [Liam Noble] sells himself out of the game, and it leaves Pascal [Chimbonda] with two against one. He took the lad down and then it is just a fantastic free kick.”

“We had sent Max Ehmer up and we were three at the back when they got their third, so you take that one on the chin in many ways,” he said. “We wanted something from the game so we gambled a bit by sending the defender forward. You’ll always be open to the counter if you do that and that turned out to be the case.

“There are still a lot of positives to take despite the end result. The group worked extremely hard and I feel we can change games from the bench now. That didn’t happen today but, and again I’ve said this before, it’s going to be a slow process for us. We have new lads in and they can all handle the ball. They’ll get to work and train with us for a full week ahead of the Brentford game and we can then look at what we want to do when the game comes along on Saturday.”

“The work this week will focus on getting them to believe in themselves as much as I believe in them,” he told us. “I keep telling them to stick to the way we want to play and not to allow the game to go long ball too soon. That needs a little bit of bravery and intelligence in the way we do things. We have to keep wanting it, even if a pass goes astray, and we have to keep working for each other all the way through the game. 

“The easy option of hitting it long isn’t always the best option, as we’ve seen in recent games. There’s a time and a place for it but if you’re just giving the ball back to the opposition then you’re going to get hurt. We’ll get back to it this week and we’ll work again on team shape and responsibility and we’ll look for much better for longer periods next weekend.”

In terms of availability for the FA Cup, he said: “We are hoping for a yes from Manchester United on Tom Lawrence and Liverpool have allowed to Craig Roddan to play, so that gives us options. That’s good news for both of those lads because it gives them some real focus this week.

“Blackburn have said no on Josh Morris, but we’ll ask the question again, and we need to talk to United about Ben Amos. Obviously he wants to play but we had the situation when he came in where he wasn’t allowed to get involved due to FA Cup rules. That’s changed so it’s now down to he conversation we have with his club going forward.”

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