MANAGER: Feel extremely proud

Graham Kavanagh on the Wolves game

United manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the home draw with Wolves on Tuesday evening.

“I’m extremely pleased because it was a magnificent performance,” he said. “I think the key word from this game is proud. I feel extremely proud of everybody, from the staff to the players, because they have come out and performed. 

“We asked for an improved performance from the group, and we got that, and it’s even more pleasing that we have produced it for the home fans. They’ve just witnessed two defeats on the road so it was important to get a reaction like this.”

“I think it was difficult to even choose a man of the match because all of the players were magnificent,” he added. “The centre halves were quality, the full backs were outstanding and Prince Buaben looked top drawer. 

“We changed the game tactically from a defensive 4-3-3 to an attacking one, with him up front, and he loved the role. He did say the other week that it’s his favoured position but it’s not always possible to allow that to be available. However, we felt that Wolves would be a passing team and he was a big part of helping us to cope with that.”

“Once we made the tactical change we were the team in the ascendancy,” he agreed. “Don’t get me wrong, we knew they were going to cause us problems, but we probably had the more clear cut chances on the whole. 

“I’m certainly not disappointed that we didn’t win the game because it’s one where we’d have taken a point before kick off. It could have been better than that with the way we played but I really feel that we’re back on track again.”

“I think this is probably the proudest moment since I took over,” he admitted. “From the adversity of the last two games, with the penalties and the sending off, we knew we needed to be on our game. Wolves are an extremely good side and they are full of confidence and real quality. We matched that with the manner in which we played. We showed intelligence and togetherness and we got to see all of the things which are fundamental to the success of any team. The intensity of the work was high and we looked like we were going to score almost every time we attacked. 

“I always felt that we’d get the maximum from the group because we had a team meeting on Monday and Lee Miller set the tone for us. He apologised to the group and that was really important for everybody. He wasn’t asked to do it – it was something he did off his own back – so that was brilliant. Everyone accepted that and it shows the feeling we have here within the club. It’s all come together, with the way we have played tonight, to make me feel extremely proud.”

“Like I say, I think it’s difficult to single anybody out,” he said. “Max Ehmer looked calm and assured and Lewis Guy showed us more of the intelligence and work rate that he brings to the squad. We could look right across the pitch and see that they were all at the top of their game.

“It’s one that must have looked good for the fans to watch and you’re always proud to be part of something like that. What we will say is that we can’t continually have performances like this and fall back to bad habits when it’s against teams we probably should be getting results against. We have to have the same mindset against every team we play and that’s a demand I will continue to put on our players.”

“It is strange because I didn’t really feel anxious going into the game either,” he revealed. “We always seem to step up in these situations and, as I’ve just said, that’s why it’s important that we produce the same when we play teams who are in and around us. If we can do that then we’ll start climbing the table because we’ll be a tough team to beat.

“The reaction from the lads in the dressing room after the game has also shown me that there is a real sense of purpose there. They were stung by the last few results and they wanted to put it right. I suppose you do scratch your head and ask why we don’t do it every week, and that is a question we will ask the lads. If we do get the levels of focus we ask for then I have no doubt we’ll put another run together.”

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