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INTERVIEW: It was very competitive

16 February 2013

Manager on the Pompey draw

United manager Greg Abbott gave us his thoughts on the 1-1 draw at Portsmouth shortly after full time.

“We’re pleased with the point, especially with the way the game ended up going, but we’re also a little bit disappointed that we got ourselves in front without quite managing to see it through,” he said.

“We had one or two chances to get the second goal before their penalty and you’d have to say that if we put one of them away then it would probably have been comfortable for us. 

“They have some big, physical players and we faced a bit of an aerial bombardment at times. We expected that and I thought the lads coped with it really well. Results would suggest that this hasn’t been a tough place to come this season, but I think we’ve seen that these players are really trying to perform for Guy [Whittingham], for the fans and for the situation they are in.

“We’ve had to cope with the enthusiasm that brought to their play and I thought our boys were really competitive and, at times, we played some really good stuff.”

“The overall feeling in the dressing room at the moment is that it was a battling performance from us and there’s a lot the lads can take from it,” he continued. “We created some really good chances and a few of the lads are kicking themselves that they didn’t convert them for us. That’s the difference between winning and losing but I think we’d be more worried if we hadn’t created anything at all. Our goal was well protected at the other end and, on another day, we’d probably be looking at a very good result rather than just a decent one.

“I don’t think we can grumble too much about the penalty,” he told us. “It looked like it was the right decision from where we were and he [the referee] also got it right with the yellow card. Again, we were at a bad angle in the dug out so we can’t say for definite that there were players back to cover the move, but they’re telling us in the press box that the ball was pushed wide as well. We’d have felt hard done by if that one had been a red card, but in terms of it being a penalty it’s one we just have to accept.”

“We had a few harsh words at half time because we didn’t feel we were using possession as well as we should have been,” he said. “Credit to the lads because they took that on board and we looked much more dangerous after the break. We were the better side for long periods and it’s just a shame that we didn’t turn it into a victory.

“We always pick the team we think will suit the opposition, the conditions and the type of game we want to play, and that’s why we moved things around a little bit today. We wanted to work as a midfield three when we had the ball and we wanted to see plenty of bodies in support of the front men when we got forward. Like I say, it didn’t quite come off for us in the first half but we got stronger and we looked much more comfortable with it once we found our movement and passes.

“Dave Symington is doing some really good stuff for us and he’s one who is still learning the game. He keeps getting his pitch time because he can have a real impact when he comes on, not just with his shooting but with his energy as well. He’s improving day-by-day but there are areas we're working on with him all the time. He’s heading in the right direction and if he keeps doing what he’s doing, and listening to what we’re saying, then he won’t go too far wrong.”

“Mike [Edwards] is fine. He had his injection in his groin area last week and it’s just a case of not needing to rush anything. We have the three other senior centre backs here with us and it didn’t make sense to bring him on a long journey when he’s just had that done. He’ll be back with the group next week and it’s another area which will give us some nice selection problems.

“It’s a busy week ahead again with the Cumberland Cup and then the two home games on Saturday and Tuesday. We’re all in a confident mood and we go into it hoping that we’ll get the points to take us to that first target of 50 points. Hopefully that will come quickly and we can take things on from there.”

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