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INTERVIEW: Stranger things have happened

Nathan Thomas on his goals against Crawley

30 April 2019

Forward Nathan Thomas spoke to us shortly after full-time on Saturday to give us his thoughts on his weekend brace and on taking the play-off hopes to the last game of the season.

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“The result was massive for us,” he said. “The only thing we could do was put on the performance to get the win because we knew we needed it. We hoped the other teams would slip up, but they haven’t, so we just need to make sure we keep the pressure on.

“The first half was fantastic, everything just seemed to click. Our patterns of play were fantastic and we were ruthless in front of goal when we got the chances. The second half wasn’t as good, but when you’ve got a four-goal advantage you do unconsciously take your foot off the gas a little bit. We probably invited them onto us a bit too much, but it still felt like there were goals there for us in the second half."

On his own blistering first half display, he told us: “Before the game the gaffer and Tommy [Wright] spoke to me and said that a massive part of what we were going to try and do was to be to try to isolate me against their left back. I got the opportunities to get at him early in the game and it’s good to get a feel of what you’re up against that early on.

“For the first goal I took him inside and managed to sneak it into the top corner, and when that happens so early you get the feeling you’re going to have a good day. The second one definitely snuck into the bottom corner.

"Sometimes as a winger or a wide forward you have those days where you feel like nothing can stop you, and I felt like that in the first half. I had the beating of my man, so it was a little bit disappointing to not get more opportunities to get at him, especially in the second half. I always want more, and I would have loved another goal, but I was happy with my contribution."

“I think Hallam [Hope] wanted a pass for my second goal, but I didn’t see him," he insisted. "I'm sure he wouldn’t have seen me in the same situation! Once I chopped back the first time my head was down, so I didn’t really have time to look up and see who was around me. I was just trying to work a yard of space to get a shot off.

“We were massively disappointed after the Grimsby game, especially because we had the chance to go into the play-offs. We’ve messed up some really big opportunities of late and we’ve only got ourselves to blame. We’re still in with a shout somehow, so we’ll keep trying and hope the results go for us next week. I’m not saying it’s meant to be, but football is weird and stranger things have happened."

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On the positive response from the squad to the disappointment felt on Easter Monday, he told us: “We could have let the disappointment of Monday get into our heads but we didn’t.

"It helps when you score early, and we got another one quite soon afterwards. When you’ve got teams on the back foot like that, it’s about taking advantage. When we’ve been in front in other games we maybe haven’t taken advantage and taken the chances we’ve created.

"I remember the Forest Green game, I had a load of chances and didn’t put any away, and today could have been like that. We took our chances when they came today and I think that’s a massive part of League Two football. If you finish your opportunities when you get them, more often than not you’ll win the game.

“We know what we’ve got to do at Yeovil. The opportunity is there, all we can do is win the game and put the performance on. If we play like we did today I think we’ll get those three points, then we just need to see what happens.

"Football can be unpredictable and stranger things have happened. All we can do is put ourselves in the position to take advantage if the other teams mess up."

Having settled in nicely at Brunton Park, we wondered if we'd be seeing him again for more of the same next season.

“I haven’t got a clue what’s happening next season," he admitted. "I haven’t spoken to Sheffield United yet, but I’ve got another year on my contract there.

"They’ve done really well this season and they could be a Premier League team by the time this interview goes out. It’s a conversation I’ll have in the next few weeks. I’ve really enjoyed my time here, and today I think the fans have seen one of my better games.

"It’s a great group of lads, I’ve really enjoyed being in the group, so it’s an avenue I’ll definitely explore in the summer because I’d love to come back.

“I think this loan spell was massive for me on a personal level. Last time I was at this level I did really well, so when I went to Notts County I thought it would be another kickstart for my career. That obviously didn’t happen, but from day one here if felt different.

"I think I’ve had some really good performances while I’ve been here, not as many as I would have liked, but I feel like I’ve been getting better. Coming here changed the whole season for me, because six months ago I was ready to write it off and move on to next season, but now it’s a season that I’ll hopefully look back on quite fondly.

“I get on well with the gaffer as well and it’s always nice to impress him. We haven’t always seen eye-to-eye over certain things because it was a new way of playing the position for me, and it took me a little while to get used to it.

"The gaffer put his faith in me and I’ve played a lot of football under him, and it’s nice to repay a little bit of that faith with a few half decent performances."

Next up for the Blues is the visit to already relegated Yeovil at the weekend.

“I don’t think it matters that Yeovil have already been relegated, every player has got pride," he continued. "If a team were coming here wanting to get promoted, whatever our situation was, we’d want to stop that from happening.

"I’m sure that’s what Yeovil will want to do on Saturday, and maybe now the pressure is off them it might make them dangerous. We’ve got to approach it the same as any other game, and we’ve got to get the result, then leave it up to the football gods to see what happens.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Nathan Thomas on iFollow United now.

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