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MANAGER: We're in a good place

30 July 2014

Graham Kavanagh on the Dumbarton friendly

Manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the Dumbarton friendly on Tuesday evening.

“I thought we were magnificent,” he said. “The performance, the attitude, our possession of the ball, ball retention and the work we did when we gave it away was all top drawer. It’s another where we come away feeling really pleased.

“I’ve said this before but it’s about us getting a system that suits us at this stage. I think I know what it is and I know the players who can produce it for us. We changed to a diamond in the second half, from having five in midfield in the first half, and both styles of play worked well for us.

“We seem to know when to press and when to chase the game and we have players who are playing with confidence. Probably the one criticism from the night is that we didn’t put the ball in the net as many times as we would have liked, but I’m extremely happy with what I’ve seen.”

“We’ve been looking at how we want to play ever since last May and the players we’ve added have brought a flexibility to what we’re trying to achieve,” he continued. “There are still a lot of areas we need to improve and we’ve had one or two performances from pre-season I haven’t been completely happy with.

“The conditions were right tonight for good football and we have to credit Dumbarton for giving us a good game. The pitch was lovely and, with the rain just before kick off, it allowed both sides to get their passing game going.

“We’ve worked on a few things over the last few days and we’ve tried to get it across to the players that we don’t want them to play in straight lines all the time. We want them to change the angles and make sure they use the ball with quality, and I thought we got that.”

On the pursuit of new players, he said: “I’ve made an offer to one and I’m waiting on an answer, as we speak. He has one or two other options and things are a little bit more complicated because of a personal matter. He has a deadline of Wednesday and I’m hoping to get a positive outcome. There are one or two loan options there that would be of interest, if this one doesn’t come off, so we’ll wait and see.”

“We are getting some very good performances from individuals already here and you don’t have to look much further than Dave Symington as an example of that,” he commented. “He’s been absolutely top drawer.

“I’m reluctant to continually give the younger lads praise because, from experience over the last few years, they do have a tendency to step off the gas a little bit. They start to think everyone is happy and you can lose that extra bit of zip and energy. The good thing is that we have our fitness coach [Lee Fearn] in with us so we’re not giving them an opportunity to do that.

“They’re working on an afternoon with him and the detail of what we’re doing has been fantastic. We’re starting to see the benefit of that now and I’m hoping we peak properly once we get to the Luton game.”

“I am looking forward to that one but I think the buzz started for me on the very last day of last season,” he said. “I had a rebuilding programme to address and, even though I knew what I wanted to do, I also knew implementing it was going to be another matter. 

“Once we started to get one or two signings in there was a belief we could make a challenge. I feel that if I’d started last season with the group I have now we wouldn’t have been relegated. I think we’re in a much better place but I do still want to try and improve it.”

“The St Mirren game is coming at a good time for us,” he said. “It means we can do more work with the lads on pitch time and the staff can get to games on Saturday. 

“Once we look at how we perform we can really start to nail down how we are going to play against Luton, particularly with the finer details of set pieces and the like. There is still work to be done but we’re in a good place at this moment in time.”

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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