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MANAGER: Everybody worked hard

17 November 2013

Graham Kavanagh on the Crawley game

Manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the 1-1 draw with Crawley on Saturday.

“We are disappointed and especially with losing the goal so late in the game,” he said. “I thought it was an industrious performance and the lads were honest and hard working. Our play didn’t have that level of quality I would have liked but we did play very well for the first 20 minutes.

“That was the same for the first 25 minutes of the second half and we probably had more opportunities to finish things off. Unfortunately it just wasn’t to be.”

“We had a very difficult night on Wednesday night and the lads were told in no uncertain terms that it wasn’t good enough,” he added. “We looked for a reaction and I thought this performance was full of honesty. 

“It was a difficult day because we’re going through a bit of a sticky patch at the moment. The pressure is starting to build because of that and you could sense a little bit of tension around the ground. We needed to get the first goal and we did that, and then you think you’ll go on to get the three points. That didn’t happen today and one mistake has cost us.”

On the equalising goal, he said: “I thought Leon McSweeney was at fault for that. The ball was played into him and he has got to look forward. He took too big a touch, but I can’t really criticise him for it. It is just a mistake. Their player then hit an incredibly clean strike and I didn’t see whether Ben [Amos] got a hand on it or not. All I know is that it ended up in the far corner and it came from us looking fragile in the area of the pitch where we lost the ball.

“I’m going to look at it as a point gained. I’ve asked from the first day I got the job that we aim for a point and a half as an average as we go on through the season. We now have 15 from a possible 30 even though I know the majority of that came in the early part of my reign. If we manage to stay on target with that then we’ll end up with 62 points. We know there’s a lot of work still to do but the pleasing part is that they are prepared to give us honesty in what they do. If that continues then I won’t have any complaints.”

“I think we’ve reached a period where we’ve gone through a good run and now things have levelled out a little bit,” he said. “The encouraging thing is that there’s a real desire in the group to push on again and we just need that little edge or bit of luck which will set things off for us again.

“I think our energy levels have been of the highest level in the majority of our performances but I wanted to change a few things round in this one. It was good to have one or two back with us and fit, and we also have Lee Miller back from suspension to add to the mix as well.”

Speaking about the low crowd numbers, he said: “I hope the fans aren’t disillusioned at the moment because it’s still very early in the campaign. We’re going through a period of transition and hopefully they’ll stick with us. We want more people to come, of course we do, but we know we have to earn that through performances and results. 

“I think, for the first time, the fans were a little bit anxious and we got one or two negative comments. We understand that and we know it will come, but it does affect what goes on out on the pitch. If they’re more vocal in our favour it affects the opposition but, saying that, we know we have to give them something to shout about. 

“I thought our lads tried to do that by winning the first and second balls as much as they could and I thought the three midfield players played very well. Everybody worked extremely hard but we lacked the quality you need to really put a team on the back foot. There was quite a bit there for us that we can work on and we’ll do that going forward. I knew we would get inconsistency with the group we have and that is proving to be the case. We’ll keep chipping away and the better performances will come.

“We haven’t been getting the goals we want to get and that comes down to the lack of quality we spoke about in the final third. You also have to believe in yourself and maybe that is also missing for whatever reason at the moment. 

“We need to get the ball into the box, with quality, in the first place and then we have to attack it with conviction. We were doing it in the four or five game run we had which took us up the table a few weeks ago and we need to get back to it. David Amoo has probably been our most consistent performer but he’s hit a bit of a lull at the moment. One or two others have dipped as well and we need all of our big players to be on their game and, when they are, we’re a very good side.”

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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