United boss John Sheridan spoke to us about the Emirates FA Cup first round victory at Gresty Road shortly after full time on Saturday afternoon.
“We worked very, very hard as a team,” he said. “We made life difficult for the opposition, but we also made it difficult for ourselves as well. We give the ball away far too cheaply and we’ve got to do a lot better in possession if we’re going to go anywhere.
“It wasn’t our best performance, but we’ve dug the result out, which is what you’ve got to do. “Sometimes, if you aren’t at your best, you just have to grind it out. I never felt like we were going to lose it and I always felt we were in control.
“I don’t think Adam Collin has had too much to do, and we missed a penalty which would have made life much easier. We’ve had a couple of decent shots and other situations where we should have hit the target. Again, our shooting was probably not as good as it should have been, but we stuck with it and did what we had to do.
“I think both sides ended up making wrong decisions once they got close to the penalty area and that meant the forward play wasn’t as effective as it should be. It’s a game we won’t analyse too much because we’ve done the important part of it. We’ve won it and we’ve stayed in the competition.”
“Like I say, we’re in the next round, which is the most important thing,” he commented. “We’ve sent the fans home chuffed to bits because we’ve got the win. We had a great following again, and the FA Cup brings a bit of excitement for everyone involved in the club.
“It doesn’t matter how you win it, the only thing that matters is that we’re through. I’m delighted for the club because it brings a financial reward, but the main thing is that we’re in the hat on Monday night.”
With the team having grabbed the win very late in the day for the second weekend running, he said: “We dug it out and worked our socks off. We didn’t want to lose the game, even if that meant bringing them back to our place for a replay, but we’ve ended up winning it, which is even more pleasing for us.
“One thing we don’t lack in that squad is desire. The players don’t like losing, I don’t like losing, so it was good to get the win today because we’ve had a good away record. We know our home form has been letting us down, which is why we haven’t got six or seven more points on top of those we have got. This is the FA Cup, it’s a one-off game and I’m pleased for everyone at the club.”
As for who he would like to see in the second round, he commented: “Every game in the FA Cup is tricky, no matter who you get. The next tie will be another difficult game, whether it’s at home or away, but it’s important we try and get as far as we can in the competition and hopefully something good will come of it.
“I said in the week that the important thing was to be in the draw on Monday night. Everyone will be looking forward to seeing who we get now. I don’t think we played great in the game, but I don’t think we deserved to lose either.
“Crewe have a decent home record and they’re a good footballing side, but if we’d scored the penalty I think it would have made life easier for us, because they would have had to open up which would have left areas for us to exploit.”
With the goal coming from a goalkeeping error which saw man-of-the-match Ben Garratt smash the ball into the advancing Jamie Devitt, he said: “Dev did what Ashley Nadesan does, only he did it in slow motion! Ash chases those lost causes with a bit of pace usually!
“It wasn’t quite as good as Danny’s [Grainger] goal last week, but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter who or how you get the goals. We needed that little bit of luck, but it’s about perseverance.
“The keeper has kicked it against him and it’s gone in. Jamie has chased what he’s probably thought was a lost cause, he’s taken a little bit of a chance and luckily for us it’s hit him and ended up in the back of the net.
“Their lad had played well in goal and you don’t wish that on anyone. It’s good on our part that it was their keeper who got man of the match. It means we’ve been in the final third a lot.”
One talking point from the day was Fleetwood Town’s decision to grant loanee Jack Sowerby permission to play, but not to allow the same for fellow loan striker Ashley Nadesan.
“I haven’t heard anything about what might be happening with Ashley Nadesan in January,” the manager confirmed. “He’s Fleetwood’s player and I appreciate the fact they’ve allowed Jack [Sowerby] to play for us today, and that both of them can play in the Checkatrade games.
“Ash is scoring goals, so I don’t know whether Fleetwood are looking for a bit of money for him in January so they’re making sure he isn’t cup tied, but that’s just me guessing. I honestly don’t know and we still have six or seven weeks with him, so hopefully he’ll get a few more goals for us along the way as well.”
Going back to the importance of still being involved in tomorrow night’s draw, he told us; “I’m just pleased we’re still in the competition. Everybody will want a home draw because you feel that gives you a better chance of getting to the third round. I’m pleased for the players and supporters that we’re still in the hat.
“The fans came in numbers again and they’ll be going home smiling and pleased, which is what it’s all about. We know we’d have had over a thousand, or whatever, if our home form had been right.
“In my eyes we should have six or seven points more than we have right now and the fans would have a bit more belief if that was the case.”
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