Assistant manager Colin West spoke to us about Tuesday afternoon’s reserve game shortly after full time of the 4-2 away win over Wigan Athletic.
United’s squad for the day was made up of under-18s, trialists and first team players Morgan Bacon, Sam Cosgrove, Samir Nabi, Steven Rigg and Cameron Salkeld, with the game used as a good learning tool within a competitive environment.
“The lads all worked hard but they could have helped themselves a little bit more by the information they give to each other,” he said. “It’s all about learning curves, so that will come, and they also could have dropped out and given themselves a little bit more time on the ball.
“I was speaking to Darren Edmondson after the game had ended because it’s all about these lads trying to see the situation they’re in and working out the best solution for getting themselves into a better position.
“They’re starting to understand it but we obviously need to keep giving the message to them so that it sinks in. Once it does they’ll find that they look more cultured and have much more time on the ball.”
“The thing with the way I do things is that I get a little bit frustrated with players who aren’t in positions early enough or if it looks like they’re being a little bit lazy,” he continued. “That’s when I start barking instructions at them. And by lazy I mean mentally lazy rather than physically.
“It’s all done constructively because I want them to get as much out of the experiences as possible.”
Having conceded with just 22 seconds on the clock, we wondered if that had been an example of the players not being tuned in to the required tempo of the game.
“It was a massive shock for everybody when it happened,” he admitted. “It was their first attack down the left-hand side and they put it away. In fairness to the boys they got on with it and they responded in the same way by scoring really early in the second half.
“The other pleasing thing is that we took our chances and we probably could have scored more. I do have to say that Morgan Bacon did exceptionally well. He saved two or three chances that looked like they were going to be certain goals.
“He kept us in the game at times but we could have scored two or three more as well. It was good for us to see our strikers get on the scoresheet because that’s where confidence comes from. You’re in the team to score goals as a forward, that’s what you’re paid for, and if Sam Cosgrove can be more forceful in the box I’m sure he’ll get on the end of things.”
On the addition striker Steven Rigg to the squad, he told us: “We gave him 45 minutes and he’s looked great in training over the last three or four weeks. He’s been his normal self and he’s done really well. He obviously got his goal in a typical Riggy manner and that will have put a smile on his face.
“He needs to get himself back up to being ready for the bigger games but it’s good for us to have him in as added competition for places. He has been out for a while with an injury, but he’s at a point now where he needs more challenges to put his mind at rest.
“Mentally he’s very strong so he’ll just get on with it. He’s a player I like working with and I know the other coaches feel the same way. When it comes down to it he’s a lad who just wants to score goals.”
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