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INTERVIEW: We're all positive

13 May 2017

Tom Miller looks ahead to the Exeter play-off semi-final

We spoke to defender Tom Miller ahead of the play-off semi-final home tie against Exeter City.

“I wouldn’t say there are more nerves around at the moment,” he said. “I think we’ve just got to approach it like any other game even though it obviously means a lot. I’m sure the lads will get nervous before kick off but that’s the same with any game.

“We’re all excited and looking forward to it. We’ve beaten them twice this season so we know if we go out there and do what we know we can do we have every chance of making it to Wembley.

“Although we’ve beaten them twice we won’t be going into the game complacent. They’re a good side and they’re up there for a reason. We need to make sure we’re on it because we know they will be."

“Both sides have got their strengths," he continued. "We play different kinds of football. We’ve got to make sure we’re at it and we don’t make silly mistakes like we have done over the season. Especially now the game is so important.

“We know we can do it, we’re all confident and obviously beating them last week does make a difference. We’ll be going into the game with an air of belief which is a good thing for us.

“You can sense that the confidence is back again like it was before Christmas. We had a slip up during the season but we’ve finished sixth, which is an improvement on the last two years, so we are going in the right direction.

"We’ve got a great bunch of players here now with so many different qualities. We had a few injuries and changes but it feels like we’re all blending again, we’re going into the next two games with massive belief."

On the good habit of turning deficits into winning positions, he said: “We never know when we’re beaten. I think in both games against Exeter we’ve come back from 2-1 down. In the play-offs you probably wouldn’t want the same thing because there is that much more on the game.

"We obviously want to try and get ahead, it is over two legs as well but we know if we were to go behind we’ve got it in us to keep going and get it back. We’ve done it all season so we know we can."

“I’m excited personally," he admitted. "We don’t know the team yet but we’ve all played a massive part in getting us to this level, so we should be proud of ourselves. Hopefully the club is proud of us as well and we’ll make sure we take it all the way now. We’ve hopefully got three games left."

“Last Saturday was crazy," he told us. "With the shape we started with we were having chances, but they were as well. It was very open and we obviously needed to win, whereas they didn’t need anything.

"The emotions were mad, we were up one minute and down the next, but at the end it was brilliant which is what matters. It was crazy but I think we experience that a lot here at Carlisle. We like to do things the difficult way! It’s exciting for people watching and it’s exciting to be involved in.

"We got the job done, it is a rollercoaster but as long as the end result is a positive one it isn’t a bad way to do things."

On his long throw which allowed Jamie Proctor to head home the winner, he said: “With a throw it isn’t quite like a pass, but you do know when you’ve put it into the right area.

"When it leaves your hands you know if it’s making it or if it isn’t. After that you’ve just got to hope someone is in the right area and then it’s in.

"Although it isn’t the most attractive thing it’s worked well for us this season. I think we’ve got four goals directly from my throws and they cause a lot of problems as well.

“If you’ve got it you might as well put it in. As soon as it left my hands last weekend I knew it was a good one and Proc’s [Jamie Proctor] run was great, and it was a good finish as well. It’s nice to do that and it was a brilliant feeling to see it go in at the same end as where we had over 700 away fans.

“The fans have been brilliant all year. I know we’re frustrating at times, and they get frustrated with us, but they’ve been with us the whole way. It means a lot to us and it gives us an extra boost.

"When we went 3-2 up last week the fans got right behind us and made a lot of noise and it does help you keep that momentum and get over the line. It’s a brilliant feeling - I don’t think there’s a better feeling that I’ve ever experienced."

On the poor run just after Christmas, he said: “There were loads of different factors that affected us when we had that blip," he said. "We didn’t take our foot off the gas. We were still trying to do the right things but we weren’t getting a lot of luck during that period.

"Maybe people weren’t on form during certain games but that happens in football. There are so many factors that can affect your own individual performance and your performance as a squad.

"To have that and still be in the play-offs is credit to us because we’d got ourselves into such a great position come January. You’ve got to look at it over the whole season and at the end of it we’ve finished sixth, which I think is great for the club.

"You’ve got to look at some of the budgets of some of the teams above us. They are massive clubs but we’ve been in and around them all season. It’s an achievement to get in the play-offs but it doesn’t mean a lot unless you go on and do it all. We’ll give it everything we can and we’re all positive about it.

“I haven’t really played in games of this magnitude at league level. I’ve played in games where you get big crowds like Liverpool and Everton, which are great occasions because you’re playing against some of the best players in the world.

"In terms of it meaning so much at a club level - I’ve never played in anything like it. I’m excited, slightly nervous about everything, but it’s what you play football for. If you’re in this business you want to make these occasions happen so it’s just brilliant. I can’t wait for Sunday and obviously Thursday.”

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