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Interviews

INTERVIEW: We'll stick together and build on the positives

8 March 2017

Mark Gillespie on bouncing back from the Plymouth game

United's current longest serving player Mark Gillespie made his 150th league appearance for the Blues at Home Park on Saturday and we caught up with him ahead of training on Tuesday morning to talk about the game and about the two important home fixtures coming up.

“During big games at the top of the league they’re usually decided by fine margins," he said. "Maybe the results against Plymouth and Portsmouth have suggested otherwise, but the fine margins are what has cost us in both games.

"The first goal is massive and on both occasions the other side managed to get it and we’ve come away with nothing. It isn’t through the want of trying, we’ll stick together and try and build on the positives and cut out the mistakes which have cost us.

“In patches of the Portsmouth and Plymouth games we’ve shown enough to score a goal but we haven’t managed to do it in the end. That’s obviously disappointing, everyone is hurting and we don’t like to lose. We haven’t on many occasions but it’s three on the bounce so we’ve got to react and that’s what we’ll look to do."

“We had a good discussion after the game on Saturday and I think that’s important," he admitted. "You’ve got to look each other in the eye when things aren’t going right.

"It isn’t an attitude thing, it’s all about game play and trying to get the right results. We’ve got an honest bunch of players and I think it’s time to act instead of talking about it. I know the fans want action, and actions speak louder than words, so that’s what we all want to do.

"We have to do interviews and things like that but in real terms we’ve got to do our talking on the pitch. We’ll do the work this week to make sure we get the best out of each other for the two big home games on Saturday and Tuesday."

“I don’t think the belief has taken a hit," he insisted. "It has a little bit in terms of the results, but we all believe in each other and in what we’re doing. We’ve been at the top end of the league for a long time this season and I think that speaks for itself.

"We’re a good side and we need to get back to doing what we were doing when we were getting the results. We’ve done enough in the two games against top sides to get something out of the games, things just haven’t gone our way and we’ve been punished. That’s what happens, so we’ll take it on the chin and look to bounce back."

Speaking about his own form, he said: “I’m making saves and I’m feeling quite good when I’m out there at the moment. Things are going against us with the goals conceded and that’s something I’ve just got to take on the chin.

"I’m experienced enough now to try and focus on my own game, and on the things I’m doing well to try and remain confident. On a personal level I feel good but the most important thing is the team, and we haven’t been getting the results we want.

“We still have 11 games to go and there are plenty of points to play for, so there’s no panic from us at the moment. The defending starts from the front and finishes with me, so you’ve got to look at every department.

"If a goal goes in it means that something hasn’t gone right and it’s happened too many times this season. We’ve scored plenty so we know if we can work on it we’ll be fine."

“I think this week is big in terms of us regrouping after being away all week together," he continued. "We’re back in our own environment in our training ground and we’ll use that to our advantage.

"We’ve got plenty of time to dust ourselves down and get sorted for Cambridge on Saturday, then Luton at home again next Tuesday. If we can take six points from those two games we’ll be in a good position."

We couldn't let the interview pass by without talking about what it was like to play on the notoriously lumpy Cheltenham surface.

“The Cheltenham pitch was interesting for a goalkeeper," he said. "I was talking to their keeper before the match and he was saying it was frustrating for him to have to play on it every week.

"In terms of the bounce of the ball and your footing when you’re kicking it wasn’t ideal. It’s something that should be looked at but we were five minutes away from grinding out a point.

"That game has gone, as haev the other two, and we’ve got to look forward now. It’s the same old phrases after a defeat - you’ve got to bounce back and react - but there’s not really much else you can say. It’s frustrating for everybody but that’s what we need to do."

“There’s a lot of pride in a lot of things we’ve done this season," he said. "We’ve had some good runs and good wins and we want a top three place to show for it. That’s what we’re all focussed on. We’ve got some good games coming up where we can take maximum points and everybody is ready for it.

“The fans have been brilliant all season. Massive credit has to go to the ones who made the journey down to Plymouth on Saturday, as well as to Cheltenham on the Tuesday night. They’re the ones we feel for because we haven’t given them anything to show for their efforts and support.

"We're back at home this weekend and that’s what we have to do. Hopefully we will.”

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