Graham Kavanagh on the Bradford victory
United manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the victory over Bradford City on Tuesday night.
“I‘m proud of the lads in the sense that we’ve had a difficult run and we needed to get a performance and a result,” he said. “We had to put a lot of work in on Monday and ahead of the game because we wanted to come up with a method that would get the best out of the players. I’m delighted that we got a clean sheet and the three points.
“The first half performance was about pressing the ball and keeping them away from our goal. We knew they would put balls into our box so we had to be clever about how we denied them space. I think a few nerves might have kicked in after the break and that’s something I wasn’t pleased about. However, that’s the situation we’re in and it became more important that we won the game. Hopefully we can build on it and get ourselves off on a run.”
“It was always going to be a tough game,” he told us. “They are a team who never know when they’re beaten and they will keep coming at you. That’s exactly what they did so it was important for us to see it out. The players bought into the shape and style we wanted to play and they deservedly ran out as winners.
“Another good thing for us is that we played some excellent football, particularly for the first 70 minutes,” he said. “I thought Danny Redmond was outstanding and Brad Potts and James Berrett worked really well together. Paul Thirlwell showed that he is exactly what we’ve been missing with his organisation and discipline. We went with a team shape to pick up the second ball whenever possible and it all fell into place for us.
“It’s a result and performance I want the lads to enjoy but I also want to make sure that we do build on it. How many times have said that we’ve got ourselves off to a start only to take a step back again? We need to change that and keep climbing up the table.”
“I’ve been very self critical after the last few performances,” he admitted. “I’ve looked at selection and tactics to see if there is anything I can do to give us the best chance of getting things right. I think we all have to look to improve all the time and we’ve taken a step towards that with this game. I hope we can get more of it on a consistent basis.”
“The goal was pleasing because we do a lot on set pieces,” he explained. “It’s always nice when they come off and Lee [Miller] will have enjoyed that. He’s given it his all in the last few games and he’s got his reward with that.
“We could have had one or two more with the chances we created but it became more and more important that we defended our lead as the game went on. The fans always appreciate it when they see their players give everything and that’s definitely what we got from all of them tonight. It will give us confidence going forward and hopefully we’ll get some momentum going forward.”
On new arrival Nacho Novo, he said: "He's scored goals wherever he's played and he brings intelligence and cleverness to the team. He's a new option for us and he will give us experience in a key area. It’s a good one for us because the players we've signed up to now have been generally young and inexperienced. Hopefully this is one which will lift everyone.
“He’s been training with us for a while now and he has fitted in really well. He’s determined to make the most of this spell and we’re looking forward to seeing him take that into the games he has with us.”
“We’re still looking at other options,” he revealed. “I do think it’s vitally important to get another centre half in as cover and we’ve identified potential targets. I want to make sure I get it right because it’s a key position. It’s not something I want to rush.”
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