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REACTION: An emotional few days

3 September 2014

Paul Thirlwell and Tony Caig on the Accrington Stanley game

Caretaker bosses Tony Caig and Paul Thirlwell gave us their reaction to the departure of Graham Kavanagh and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy victory over Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night.

“It's been quite an emotional few days because I've worked with Graham [Kavanagh] for a number of years now," Caig said. "We built up a strong relationship and it's always difficult when a friend loses their job. 

“I don't think I would consider us in the race for the job. We're in a position of taking the team for the time being until the club decides what they want to do.”

"I don't think he [Graham Kavanagh] expected it, and I don't think you see it coming, but he is a realist and we all know football is a results game. If you don't win enough games then this is what happens. 

“I think the performance tonight was a culmination of the work Kav and all of the staff have put in over the last few months. Kav had a major influence on the structure behind the scenes and I think tonight you saw all of that come together. It's sad that Kav isn't a part of it, but that's football.”

"Monday was an emotional day," Thirlwell said. "We get to the club earlier than the players, for a staff meeting, and I think when Kav walked in we all looked at each other and got an inkling of what might be happening. We obviously didn't want it to happen but we're fully aware of the situation at the club. It's all about results. 

"It’s been a very upsetting time. There were a lot of teary eyes around the place. We're all grown men but when someone you've worked with for so long, and you've seen work so hard loses their job, it's a very sad and emotional day.”

"We weren't good enough at Cambridge on Saturday,” Thirlwell continued. “I don't think Kav, Caigy or myself could put our finger on why that was. As a player and as a man we have to accept that we weren't good enough. We've put a performance in here that shows the form we showed during pre-season. It was disappointing that we couldn't carry the excitement and momentum from pre-season into the first few games and that was obviously very unfortunate for Kav.”

Speaking about the victory over Accrington, Caig said: "Confidence was the key thing. We've put in a good performance and we even got ourselves back into the game after going a goal down, which hasn't happened too often recently. 

“A lot of belief will come from that. You could see the players wanted to get on the ball and pass it around. It's only one result and the players will need to make sure they keep their feet on the ground because we know more work needs to be done.”

"Tonight's performance isn't a surprise because we've known they've been capable of it,” Thirlwell added. “It should have happened a lot sooner but that's just the way football is sometimes.
“We aren't going to stand here and say this performance happened because we're great coaches. It's because of the work Kav has put in with bringing players in. We asked the lads to go out and play like Kav has been asking them to and they did that tonight. 

"It's been a tough time for the players and the staff but I think it's been the most difficult for the fans. They travel across the country to see us win football matches and we haven't been doing that. To see almost 300 of them here tonight was brilliant and we're really pleased we've been able to send them home happy. Let's just hope it isn't a one off. We need to make sure we get the same type of performance on Saturday so we start climbing up this league.” 

“I think Saturday will be a similar sort of game,” Caig explained. “We’ll need to work hard and hopefully the rest of the game will come to us after that. We've seen over the first few games that this is a physical league so, if we can win the battle like we did tonight, hopefully we'll be able to play some good football after that.”

“At the moment all we're doing is helping the club out,” Thirlwell confirmed. “We had a meeting with John [Nixon] on Monday and he asked us to take things forward, for now, until a decision is made. 

“That's what we'll continue to do until we're told otherwise. We also need to thank Alan Moore for helping us with training yesterday and the game tonight. We know he's got his own job to do with the youth lads so we appreciate the time he's given us over the past couple of days.”

United Player subscribers can see a video interview with Tony Caig and Paul Thirlwell 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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