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INTERVIEW: We finished it strongly

24 February 2013

Manager on the 1-1 draw with MK Dons

Manager Greg Abbott spoke to us about the 1-1 draw with MK Dons shortly after full time on Saturday evening.

“It was a little bit like the Portsmouth game last week,” he said. “We played much better in the second half than we did in the first half.

“We weren’t as cohesive in the first half because of the situation with Danny [Livesey] and it was never going to be easy going down to ten men against a really good footballing side. They expose teams who have eleven, never mind when they have ten.

“We were reorganising things just before Chicksen got his goal and we probably feel a little bit hard done by with it all. As average as we were in the first half, we didn’t really look like conceding a goal. It’s disappointing that we couldn’t get Danny back on the pitch earlier and see that part of the game out. I thought we were really powerful in the second half and that’s why we got our equaliser.”

“Everything goes through your mind when you have a player getting treatment like that,” he admitted. “It was one that needed staples and then it needed stitches. They had to take the staples out because blood was seeping through the bandage. There was nothing on his shirt, but they made him go off anyway, and that is a ridiculous rule.

“You have to consider whether you wait for him or make a change, you’re asking yourself if he’s going to recover ... you have all sorts going through your mind. To be honest with you, it’s a guess because you just don’t know how long it’s going to take and whether what has been done is going to work. Unfortunately in this one it didn’t work out for us.”

“Credit to Peter Murphy because he came on and showed us what he is all about,” he added. “He was determined and aggressive and he has put a point forward for why he wants to be in the team. 

“He played his part in what was a good period of the game for us and we went on to deservedly get the goal which was the least our performance merited.”

“It was important that we got the first half out of the way,” he said. “Nothing had gone right for us at all and we needed to make one or two adjustments. Again we saw the good and the bad after the break – but there was a lot more good than bad. 

“David Symington is getting better, even though some of his stuff didn’t quite work, and Mark Beck will get more confidence from the fact he got his goal. I think it’s a huge positive that we have 19-year-old players on the pitch who are searching for regular football. Every second they get this season will benefit us in the future. It’s fantastic to see them make an impact. 

“I hope Mark is disappointed that he hasn’t got as much pitch time recently because he’s the one who can do something about it. He knows how hard he has to work and he’ll tell you himself he wasn’t very good during the week against Carlisle City. However, he was brilliant today against MK Dons. The first people to put their arms round him after Tuesday night were his manager and his assistant manager, because that was part of his development. He can hold his head high after this one because we’re really pleased for him.”

“The first half was more than disappointing because we didn’t get out of the traps,” he told us. “We gave them too much time and space, but when we got about them in the second half we looked much better. In the end a point probably pleases both managers without sending either of us home feeling ecstatic.

“I thought Jordan [Mustoe] played well,” he said. “He was brought in to give us options and he did that. He made one or two wrong choices but overall he was terrific. He’ll get better as he gets to know how the lads play and it was really encouraging. He looks tough and he looks like he enjoys defending. He’s a good kid.”

“Like I say, I thought we were the team who looked more likely to win it at the end,” he told us. “JP McGovern hit the bar and they somehow scrambled that one away from James Berrett, and the way we have finished the game has set us up for what we will need to do on Tuesday night. Walsall are having a great season and that will be a tough game.”

United Player subscribers can see a video interview with Greg Abbott 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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