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MANAGER: Sometimes you need to win ugly

3 August 2014

Graham Kavanagh on the St Mirren friendly

United manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the 2-1 friendly win over SPL side St Mirren on Friday night.

“It was nice to get a win and I’m really pleased with how we played,” he said. “I told the players afterwards that sometimes you need to win ugly. 

“I didn’t think we played to the levels we wanted in terms of composure and quality but you have to give credit to St Mirren as well. However, the closing down and the desire to move the ball quickly that we had in our play is exactly what I want to see this season.”

“We played a 3-1-4-2 system and we were given a test by St Mirren,” he continued. “They exposed a couple of areas we need to work on, and I’m glad that happened, because we now have a week to put it right.

“We didn’t back up the play quickly enough too many times in that opening 25 minutes and they were able to get out and come at us. Overall I’m happy, though, because players like Gary Dicker got 90 minutes, Alex Marrow played more than we expected and we had others who looked really sharp. That’s good for us.”

“The free kick from Danny Grainger was outstanding,” he agreed. “He couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo when he was practicing that in training but he has got real quality. He has a very good left foot, good delivery and he’s more than capable of producing it. 

“I think the fans have gone away feeling pleased and that will always be important to us. We can be better, we know that, and I’m pleased one or two things came to light that we can now fine tune as we go through next week.”

“We ended up becoming a five in midfield early on and that’s because we were nervous,” he explained. “They were able to expose us and the word I would use is brave. We have to believe that our defenders will defend, but we became quite happy to have a diamond round the player in possession on too many occasions. That meant St Mirren could overload us and it was a situation I felt we had to deal with that at half time.”

“The second goal was nice to watch and I thought Kyle [Dempsey] did really well,” he said. “It looked like he was going to shoot but it was a great pull back and Danny Kearns finished it well.
 
“What I will say about all of this group is that I trust them. I trust them to do the right things and to look after themselves and I know they’ll give us everything. We have men in the team this season who will look after themselves and each other. We’re going to need that in League Two because it’s that type of league.”

“David Amoo got a knock on his ankle so I’d like to get a centre forward in, if at all possible,” he admitted. “I think that highlights we’re not as strong in terms of numbers at that end of the pitch as we’d like to be. I don’t want to dive in just to fill places though. We want someone who will come and do a job for us.”

“We know how we’re going to play against Luton and Derby and we know the quality both sides will bring up here,” he said. “My concern now is to make sure we’re right for Saturday so that we get off to a good start. 

“It all starts coming thick and fast now but I’m really excited by it and very much looking forward to it, as I’m sure the players are.”

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