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INTERVIEW: You've got to look it in the eye

10 April 2015

Keeper coach Tony Caig on the need to meet the battle head on

Keeper coach Tony Caig spoke to us today about the type of character needed at this vital stage of the campaign.

“The situation we’re in now is similar to a couple of seasons I had here as a player,” he said. “You do try to draw on your own experiences but you definitely see it differently, when you’re in amongst it on the pitch, than what you see as a coach.

“You don’t want to harp on about your playing days, but you do look back at defining moments and things that happened which got you the results you needed. Going back to those times we had some really strong characters in the dressing room. Love them or hate them, we had lads like Warren Aspinall, David Reeves, Dean Walling and Derek Mountfield, and people like that. 

“They’d had successful times, not just here but elsewhere, and their standards were high because of it. The unity was formed by the fact we could say things to each other and it was taken in the right way. We did fall out on quite a few occasions, even when we were winning games.

“Words like desire are used quite a lot but if you have everyone looking for the same outcome it will bring you success. Those players had that in abundance. Success for us right now will be to stay in this division. I know the players have got the desire they need but they need to draw it out of themselves.”

“The types of character I’ve talked about are already here in our dressing room,” he continued. “We have some really good professionals who are starting to realise they’re at a point with their careers where this could be a defining few weeks for them. 

“I don’t see that as something to worry about. It’s something they should take on. You’ve got to look it in the eye and go out there and do it. If you hold off and let things happen in this situation then it will go against you. You have to make it happen in your favour. With our help we’re going to make sure they find a way to do that.”

“I think an easy thing to do is accuse the players of not trying,” he said. “They could be naïve or misdirected in the actions they carry out, and that can be misconceived as a player not trying. It really isn’t that at all. 

“We need to be collectively very strong and that’s what will keep us in this league. It won’t come down to an individual or two or three players, it has to be a group effort. Yes, you do get players who will score you 20 or 25 goals, but the reason he’s getting that is because the rest of the team have done their jobs as well. It’s the same with clean sheets. Thay happen because everyone has earned it.”

“Things do get nervy at both ends of the table at this time of year, but I think it can be dangerous to ask your players to start doing things they haven’t been doing in training,” he explained. “You have to let them play their game. You have to make them feel confident in themselves that they can go out and do their jobs. 

“There is pressure, you can feel it, but the way the keepers conduct themselves has to be a calming influence for everyone. They may not feel it inside, but they have to show confidence in their approach and that can spread right through the side. I do think we have the character in our goalkeepers to do that for us.

“My role has changed over the years and you find that you’re part of the collective more. You’re no longer just the keeper coach because it’s acknowledged that you do have experience and you’ve seen things and been involved in a whole range of situations. Hopefully, with us all working together, it can help to make us better as a team and a club.”

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