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INTERVIEW: One of my most enjoyable years in football

2 June 2016

Michael Raynes on playing games and his contract trigger

Defender Michael Raynes joined the Blues from Mansfield last summer and went on to make 49 appearances in all competitions for the club this season.

In the first of a two part interview, we spoke to him about one of his most enjoyable years in football.

"This is the most I've ever played in a season," he said. "On a personal level I'm really happy with my return because I came here to play football.

"I think it's been one of my most enjoyable years in football. The group of lads we have and the way we play has been fantastic. It could have been better, but overall it's been a good year."

"I hit my contract trigger a while ago," he explained. "We played that many games that it came round quite quickly. I'm looking forward to being here for another year.

"I'd like to think my stock has gone up a little bit since I signed here. That's down to the gaffer and the staff and the way they want us to play. I'm only 28 years young, so I'm still trying to learn and get better. Hopefully there will be more improvement next year as well." 

On the tenth place finish the team earned this season, he said: "We talked about circumstances throughout the season. In reality we feel this season has been a bit of a missed opportunity.

"You don't always get what you think you deserve in football and we'll all be working harder next time around. 

"Without the new players here we can already say the dressing room is brilliant. You get that up and down the county if you're winning games. That's why we need to set our stall out early in terms of what we want to achieve next year."

The second half of the season in particular brought a new approach which every member of the team had to adapt to in terms of using the football. 

"Personally, the way we're playing is different to what I've been used to," he admitted. "Playing out from the back is different to how I've played in League Two, so I'm always learning. I'm still trying to improve as much as I can to make sure I get that right. 

"One of the big things we do know is that we have to concede a lot less goals as a back four. When you look at the table the teams who've been promoted and got into the play-offs have a lot better defensive record than ours. We know that's where we need to improve next year.

"We were pretty much a new group at the start of the season but we now have a good nucleus in place which we can build on.

"If you look at the teams who are up there, they've all been built on good foundations. They had the base in place which they then added good quality to. I think we've got that. It's now about adding the final pieces to try and have a real good go next year."

The second part of this interview will appear on the official website on Saturday morning.

United PlayerHD subscribers can see an interview with Michael Raynes now. Click HERE to go to the PlayerHD platform. Follow the same link for more information on United PlayerHD, and to subscribe.

Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.

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