United boss John Sheridan gave us his reaction to a third consecutive victory shortly after full time on Saturday afternoon.
“We’ll have to dig wins like that out sometimes,” he said. “We all want to play attractive football, which is good on the eye, but total respect to the players because they’ve had a tough week and they’ve ground this one out.
“If you get anywhere in this division you aren’t going to play brilliantly every week. Sometimes you’ve got to grind them out, and that’s what we did today. The teams who get out of this league aren’t necessarily the best footballing sides.
“I’ve seen possession stats and things like that, and I’m not a big believer in stats, at the end of the day we scored one goal and didn’t concede one, and that’s all you need.”
“Crewe obviously got beat 6-0 on Tuesday but we knew it would be a tough game,” he continued. “The games when you aren’t quite at it are good games to win. We didn’t play as well as we have done, but I think the players have got a bit of belief that they’re going to win games.
“We kept going and we still created chances. It’s a good result and I think that sort of win is just as pleasing as when we play good football, and I think it’s pleasing for the lads as well.
“We didn’t play like we have been, but we kept going. We created chances and Ash [Nadesan] has done brilliantly. I thought he should have scored just before it, but he did brilliantly for the goal. That’s what he’s all about, he chases lost causes and he’s made it for himself.
“Nadesan plays on the shoulder and puts people under pressure. I think he’ll agree that he didn’t have a great game, but his endeavour and his willingness to try and get something is always there.
“I’m pleased for him. He chases lost causes, I’ve been trying to tell him that I think he does a lot of unnecessary running. He’s non-stop, but it’s probably only him who would have scored that goal. I think it’s important for all strikers to get a goal early in the season, but we aren’t too bothered who scores the goals as long as we’re successful as a team.”
Speaking more about a performance than can be described more as workmanlike rather than free-flowing, he commented: “I gave them a couple of days off in the week to hopefully refresh them, but I said to them at half time that I thought they looked tired.
“I gave them the days off to try and help them, so I expect them to come in and be better and sharper, and I thought we were a bit flat and slow in the first half. I told them to lift it a little bit at half time and keep going, and that’s what we’ve done.
“I didn’t think Hallam [Hope] or Jerry [Yates] were at their game today but they absolutely worked their socks off. They know their role, and they do a brilliant job defensively for the team. They weren’t as good as they have been going forward, but they don’t half work hard. All of the players have got different attributes and strengths, but it’s all about the team.
“We got the opening and Ash finished it very well. As soon as we went 1-0 up I felt we were going to win the game, and it’s another big three points. It gets us in and around the right end of the table, the confidence is there, and you can see the support from the fans.
“I think the fans can see that even though it wasn’t the best performance, the lads have put the effort in. A never-say-die attitude can take you a long way in this league.”
The obvious concerns coming out of the game were the early departures of captain Danny Grainger and keeper Joe Fryer.
“We know we’re going to get injuries and suspensions, it’s just part and parcel,” he said. “We have to deal with it and I’ll try and work around it the best way I can. Joe [Fryer] has gone up to the hospital for an x-ray [later confirmed by Joe himself that it is a broken tibia and fibula], Dolly will be going up with him, so we’ll wait to hear any news from them.
“Grainger has got a calf injury so we’ll just have to assess him and see how he is. We don’t know the extent of their injuries yet, so we’ll just have to wait and see. I’ll just be waiting for the phone call off Dolly and we’ll see where we go from there.”
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