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MANAGER: Pleasing things from the group

26 March 2014

Graham Kavanagh on the Shrewsbury draw

Manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the home draw with Shrewsbury Town shortly after full time on Tuesday night.

“It’s another where I am really pleased with the performance,” he said. “It was much better compared to what happened on Saturday so we have to be happy with that. The lads gave us their absolute maximum and we’ve probably had enough chances to win two or three games. We didn’t take them and, as we all know, if you don’t put the ball in the net then you are going to pay the price.”

“We need to be clinical and we need to start taking our chances, there is no doubt about that,” he added. “We have a saying in the dressing room – ice in your brain, fire in your belly – and that’s exactly where we need to be. 

“I want to see us being aggressive in the way we operate and in the way we go about our business. If a moment of opportunity comes we have to be cool and clinical. You have to be able to deal with that little bit of pressure in that area because it’s an important part of the game. 

“We look at the table and we feel dejected in terms of not winning games but we have to see it as a point gained. It could have been so much more but we can’t dwell on that. We need to move on and make sure we keep doing our jobs. 

“I think we keep saying that every game we play is massive for us. I don’t mind how we get the points we need. However we get them, whoever they come against, we just want them to come. It would obviously be better to get them off the teams around us, because that means you’re having a real impact on the table, but we’ll keep working to pick the points up as quickly as possible.”

“It is tight at the bottom so we just have to keep playing this way,” he continued. “There are still a lot of pleasing things coming from the group and we just need to turn the chances into goals. If we do that then we will get out of it. We know that we’ll do ourselves the power of good if we can get back to back to wins, so that has to be our aim.”

“You dream about and think about the situation you’re in constantly,” he admitted. “You want to improve every element of the job and you question everything to make sure you’re doing as much as you possibly can. That does lend itself to a few sleepless nights but I think it’s the same for everybody who does this job. I think I’m quite relaxed around the players and we saw that they have responded to that with the way they played their football. With eight games to go we need to turn performances into results quickly but I’m confident that will happen.”

And on going with three at the back, he said: “I had very little option, with players available, but to do that. It would have been a gung-ho system if I’d done something else and we couldn’t afford to take that risk. 

“Shrewsbury are an established 4-4-2 team and I thought they would expose us if we allowed them to. We gave Dave Symington a big role and I was delighted for him. There have been times this season when I’ve been on his case because I’ve wanted more from him. I’ve been his biggest fan and his biggest critic because we do that much work with him as an individual that it has felt like a slow, long process. This was a night where he really seemed to understand the job and he looked stronger and better.”

“The fans who come have been first class with us,” he said. “They’re as frustrated as we are but they’re staying behind the team and that’s all we can ask of them. It makes it easier to perform when they give us that backing and support because you’re playing with less fear. I’ll continue to ask for that off them until the end of the season because it will definitely be of benefit if they stay with us. The fans at the Warwick Road End were singing and really encouraging us, which was magnificent. We need as much of that as possible going forward.”

On adding to the squad over the next 48 hours, he said: “It will be huge for us if we can bring a couple of players in. I looked at the bench and we had kids on there, so we don’t have a great deal of options at the moment. We do have one or two potentially coming back from injury but it’s about what level they can hit the ground running. They all need to make an impact sooner rather than later. 

“We’ve hit some complicated situations but we are getting closer and closer. Hopefully we’ll get some positive feedback and things will fall into place before the Thursday deadline.”

“It goes without saying that we have some huge games ahead now,” he concluded. “The lads have shown us that if we stay in games then it will go right to the wire. The players have shown enough character to make me believe they are up for the fight and that’s all I can ask. We know we can achieve this and it’s a challenge we are all up for. We’ll keep going and if we turn those chances into goals we’ll be more than fine.”

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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