Alan Moore on the Accrington and Unisun gamesAcademy manager Alan Moore spoke to us about last weekend’s Accrington game ahead of the Cumberland Cup game against Unisun Athletic on Saturday.
“It was a frustrating game for us,” he said. “We spoke to the lads about patience and about the fact they were going to get chances, but they didn’t convert the ones they got, particularly at the start of the game and at the very end.
“The difference was that Accrington took their chance so they went away with the points. It’s a good lesson for the lads when it comes to patience and keeping the ball. It’s new for the first years because they have to get used to the fact there will be teams who come here and sit back.
“When you’re against that you have to keep shifting the ball and wait for the chances to come. You can’t rush it. They had a man sent off, which meant they sat even deeper, and we seemed to try to rush things even more instead of taking our time.
“As I say, we had plenty of chances but we just didn’t seem to take them on the day. That’s becoming a bit of a theme at the moment but we still come away feeling pleased with a lot of the stuff we’re doing. There are just a few areas we need to improve and work on.”
“Their goal is another learning point,” he added. “They broke away from our set play and caught us on the break. We were dangerous from set pieces, and we could have had four or five from those alone, but we lost two second balls from one of them and we didn’t recover.
“We worked on making sure we were in a position to compete for second balls and we watched the DVD back again on Tuesday to show the lads where they could have done things differently.
“It’s interesting to hear what the young lads have to say about what their thought processes were during the games because it’s totally different to those of us who have played the game over a number of years. It’s good to get their perspective on certain aspects of the game.”
"It wasn't our day," he said. "Once that happens a few passes start going astray and that starts to go through the whole team. They got frustrated because we didn't score early and that's what Accrington are looking to play off.
"The longer it goes without the opposition scoring the more into the game Accrington will come. If we'd scored early it would have been a totally different game, but that's one of the lessons we're teaching them. It might take until the 89th minute to score, you have to stay patient. We had two chances in added time that would have won us the game if we'd put them away."
"The analysis after the game is good for the lads," he told us. "They have their own opinion about what happens in the game. We'll then sit down and go over it as a group so there's no hiding place for the players who are looking for excuses.
"We try to encourage them to express themselves and have fun. They're enjoying training, we've played the pros in a 11v11 and they've expressed themselves and taken on board what we've said following Saturday's game already which is pleasing."
"The game on Saturday will be different again," he explained. "Especially for the first years. They'll be playing against men, it will be a massive learning curve because there will be verbals and we'll be playing on different facilities.
"It's something that they'll have to learn to cope with. We find these games useful for a number of reasons, we always look to take the positives from them. The pitch won't be what we're used to and we'll probably play with a different type of football. They have to adapt, they can't have everything their own way all of the time.
"It's the same for the first team, when it comes to January and they're playing away on cold nights when it's wet and windy they have to adapt to that. You've got to cope and make sure you come away with the win.
"They seem to pick their game up for the cup games, I think this will be the same because they're the cup holders and they know it's a scalp if anybody beats them. We'll remind them of that before the game so there won't be anybody going in with any complacency."
United – Bacon, Hurley, Pearson, Taylor, Douglas, Groves, Holt, Robson, Breen (Salkeld 52), Brown (Egan 66), Bradbury. Subs – Burgess, McCue, Watson.
Next up: Unisun Athletic, Cumberland Cup second round, 1,30pm KO, Melbourne Park