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MANAGER: Confidence and belief

16 December 2013

Graham Kavanagh on the Tranmere game

United manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the convincing 4-1 home victory over Tranmere on Saturday.

“It’s one where we come away delighted because it was a really good team performance,” he said. “We played well and created a lot of chances and everyone played their part. 

“We started well and that’s always important. The conditions weren’t the best and we had to deal with a strong wind, but I thought we used it to our advantage when it was with us and when it was against us.”

“Tranmere are a good side and we knew they’d come here to test us. I warned the lads that it was important for us to start brightly and to win our battles right across the pitch. I missed the first goal because I was still coming down the tunnel, but that really set us off on the right track. It gave us confidence and a bit of belief and we looked a very good side.”

“The only disappointing thing from the day is that we didn’t have too many people here to see it,” he continued. “Obviously we want them to come back and we hope that playing football like this will do that for us. We wanted good back-to-back performances, particularly with what we’d done against Brentford, and it’s fantastic that we got that. It sets us up nicely for the Christmas period ahead.”

“I think we all know how important Christmas is,” he added. “I’ve set the boys a target and, again, this puts us well on course. Tranmere had a difficult week but I didn’t want the lads to think it was going to be any easier because of that. The early goal settled everybody down and got us in a really positive frame of mind – I just wish I’d seen it!   

“Another really good thing for us, as a staff, is the way the new players and loan signings have integrated. They’ve come in and they’ve adapted really well and there is just a really good feeling in and amongst the dressing room at the moment.

“I’ve had to juggle the squad but I am mindful of the lads who have been here and who have consistently performed for me. They are always going to get their chance as long as I am getting this level of performance from them. I think some of them have also stepped up a level but we’re not getting carried away.”

On the goals scored by Manchester United loanee Tom Lawrence, he said: “When he plays off the left he can go inside or outside because he has quick feet and he has a very good eye for goal.

“His confidence levels are high, which is fantastic, and I thought he took his second goal particularly well. He’s a good lad and he has really caught the eye and hopefully he’ll develop even further from here. I still think he needs to understand the defensive side of our game a little bit more so we’ll keep working on that. But he is a goal threat and he has been a real asset. 

“I thought Prince Buaben was also outstanding. His energy levels and the way he took the game to Tranmere were just what we needed. We are in a situation where everybody is working hard and giving us quality, and we’re getting the reward for that.

“The other player I am going to mention is David Amoo. He has probably been our best player for the first part of the season and I thought it was unfair when he took a bit of stick. He’s had a difficult time and we had to put an arm round him and try to boost him back up. He has responded to that and he is now playing exactly where he was a month or two again. Full credit to him for that.”

“We think Courtney [Meppen-Walter] is one for the future,” he told us. “It’s great news that we’ve got him and I think I’ve said before that John Nixon and Andrew Jenkins have really pushed the boat out and helped me. 

“He's missed vital periods of his development over the last couple of years and we sat down and told him that he could probably go somewhere else for much more money, but he'd end up back in a development squad. He decided to stick with us and I think he’s going to be a really good acquisition. 

“There are one or two parts of his game that need to improve but I think he has steadily grown. The confidence levels are getting a lot greater and a lot higher with everyone and hopefully we’ll all keep moving onwards and upwards.”

United Player subscribers can see a video interview with Graham Kavanagh 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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