Graham Kavanagh on the Brentford game
United manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the second round FA Cup victory over Brentford shortly after full time on Saturday evening.
“I thought everyone was magnificent against a very good Brentford team,” he said. “I wanted us to show our bravery and our quality and all of those aspects came together for us.
“Before the game we kept falling back on the fact that Uwe Rosler had left and we wanted to try to use that as much as we could as well. You have to take every advantage going and I told the players to try and make it a real FA Cup tie. I wanted us to battle and scrap for everything and I wanted us to play in their half as much as possible.
“I think Uwe is an excellent man and he is going to turn out to be an excellent manager with a very bright future in the game. He has some really good football ideas and I wish him all the best at Wigan. From our point of view it left us wondering what type of attitude and response would come from their players. In the end it didn’t really matter because we played well and I’m pleased about that for everybody.”
“The spell after they equalised was huge,” he agreed. “I knew they would start fast in the second half and I didn’t want us sitting on the edge of our 18-yard box. I didn’t want us to just get through it, but Brentford did play well and they pinned us back for a while.
“Tom Lawrence said to us at half time that he’d felt his calf tighten but he thought he could give us another 15 or 20 minutes. As it happened it became a bigger problem just five minutes into it, and he got done on the inside for the goal. We should probably have changed him during the break, but he’d had a good game, and it’s things like this you live and learn by.
“We conceded that goal but we kept going and we didn’t let our heads drop. David Amoo got back to somewhere near his best and we caused them some real problems. Overall I thought our attacking play was excellent.”
“I thought we were there at 3-1 but it never seems to turn out that way for us,” he told us. “It was a bit nervy in the final few minutes but we march on now and it gives us great confidence going into next week’s home game. The good thing for us is that we had so many players who look like they are coming back into form and we now have a week to prepare for the Tranmere game.”
“When you judge the quality of the opposition you have to say that’s the best we’ve played since I took over,” he insisted. “We controlled the ball and we were constantly looking to break through their lines. It was very encouraging for us.
“A good run of home results and a feeling that this is a fortress is something we do want to achieve. We’ve got a lovely pitch and a team that wants to perform here. I think the Boreham Wood home game was the one that changed the attitude of a lot of people in this squad. The difference in the second half and first half performances in that game gave the group a lot of belief back. I used the phrase after it of ‘no guts, no glory’ because the players had to take responsibility or they were going out of the competition.
“We now have to take all of that into our league games because we want to build belief, momentum and consistency. You need a little bit of luck along the way but I think that when we perform with the energy levels and quality like we did in this game then we start to help ourselves.
“It’s strange because when we play Saturday to Saturday we look fresh. However, when it’s Saturday and then Tuesday we tend to perform in one game and not the other. Putting my finger on why that happens has been really difficult. That’s why I want to keep freshening things up.”
“I keep saying that we want the fans to come back,” he said. “As soon as the attendance was read out today quite a lot of our fans booed. I think that was frustration because they were there and they wanted others to be there with them as well.
“I think a performance like this one will definitely help when the fans who are staying away hear about the work rate and honesty we’ve shown. It was a great game to be involved with and Brentford played their part in that. The message is to please come back and take a look at what we’re trying to do. Hopefully we’ll earn your trust and the right to have you back here for every game. As the numbers grow we’ll become a bigger and better club but I know it will be a slow process. We’ll keep clawing away and trying to build things up again.”
As for what he wants from the draw, he said: “I’m a Liverpool fan so it would be fantastic if we could go to Anfield.
“Any of the big boys away from home would be nice simply for the financial windfall it would bring. I think the fact that we’re still in it is good enough so my real wish is that we continue to perform as we did in this game. We’ll give ourselves a real chance in every game we play if we do.”