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INTERVIEW: Stuck to the game plan

4 February 2013

Reaction to the Tranmere victory

United manager Greg Abbott gave us his reaction to the 1-0 win over table-toppers Tranmere shortly after leaving the ground on Saturday. 

“The dressing room is buzzing and rightly so,” he said. “We’ve played well on what was a difficult surface and I think we deserved the win.

“The first half was a really good performance and we showed that we can match even the sides that are top of the division when we are on our game. We caused problems and we kept things tight, and we scored at what was a great time for all of us.”

“It was one of those where we felt we needed experience and the team selection reflected that,” he explained. “We haven’t got a massive squad, but we do like what we have in there. We’re going to need them all through the course of the season and this is an example of picking a team to do a job. We got it right on this occasion and that comes down to the group. We’ve said all along that, when we have everyone fit, we are difficult to handle and we are definitely getting there now.”

“The lads stuck to the game plan and that was very important,” he added. “They were always going to get chances because they are full of confidence at the moment. But we got the work rate and the energy and that’s what got us the three points. It’s a decent little run that we’re on at the moment and the job for us now is to make sure it continues.”

“We’re all absolutely delighted for Rory [Loy],” he told us. “He’s been through a tough year but he has dealt with it and he has got himself back into contention. He had run out of steam a little bit by the end of it but you could see that he was causing them problems with his pace and with the way he was linking up the forward play. That will have done him the world of good and you saw from the reaction of the lads that they know how much his goal meant.”

“The clean sheet is massive,” he said. “We always back ourselves to score and we’ve seen them defend as a team. The strikers have worked back and the midfield lads have done everything to close down and keep things tight. Mark [Gillespie] has done his bits really well and it all came together to make it a very solid group display.”

“I think I said on the radio that we were staggered when we saw Akpa Akpro kick out,” he admitted. “It was one where the referee had no choice and there won’t be too many arguments. It actually worked in their favour on the pitch because they worked even harder and closed us down after he went off. We were well on top throughout the first half and all we could do was stick to the way we wanted to play. That paid off for us.”

“We’re getting there in terms of having everyone available and we have real options now,” he said. “Chris [Chantler] missed out but it’s simply a case of not wanting to take too many risks. Hopefully he isn’t too far away. Danny Cadamarteri had a problem with his ankle in the latter part of the week and we’re hoping that is just a short term thing as well. Dolly [Neil Dalton] will get them back in next week and we’ll take it from there.”

“I think this was a day we all enjoyed,” he concluded. “The fans were behind us all the way and the lads have really responded to that. They enjoyed the Loy goal as much as anyone because he’s a popular player. They’ve then seen us battle and scrap and play a bit of good football as well. 

“We’re in a much healthier position but it’s important that we finish the season off properly. We want to get as high as we can so that we go into the summer feeling really positive. Doing things properly will help with that as we continue to plan and prepare for next season as well.”

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