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MANAGER: I've never been more determined

Steven Pressley on his desire to bring success to Brunton Park

3 April 2019

United boss Steven Pressley spoke more about the need for the team to deal with key moments within games better as the preparation for the Saturday home game against Bury gathers pace.

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“It’s exactly as we spoke about after the game on Saturday,” he said. “It comes down to not giving things away in key moments of the game. That’s why teams spend £65 million on defenders, because it’s the difference between winning and losing games.

“There’s a lot of work goes into our preparation, but the players have to have the right mentality and they have to be able to smell the danger at these particular moments. Unfortunately, that’s what let us down at the weekend.

“On the back of that, once you lose the second goal you lose a little bit of belief when you’re not on a great run. I won’t fault the attitude, I’ll keep repeating that, but we have to do better at key moments.”

“Things like concentration and recognising the key moments have to come from the players themselves,” he added. “If it was coached then we’d never need to sign £65 million players. There’s a point where the players have to take responsibility, and these are those uncoachable moments.

“When the ball is wide and you have to defend your box, you have to be touch-tight and you have to smell the danger. These are the moments when you need your players.

“I can make significant changes in other areas of the pitch and in other parts of the game, but decisive moments on corner kicks and deliveries have to be defended as they happen.”

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And on what he can do as the manager to get a reaction from the group, he told us: “I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to change personnel, that hasn’t been available to me because of the situation with the squad.

“However, with players now back the others need to know that if they don’t perform, I have to have the ability to do that. I can only go by what I see, and what I see are training sessions of really good attitude and determination, and not one single bit of negativity about them. I’m seeing us train well, and I’m seeing some good fruits from it.

“What I will say is that after all the disappointments of late, and a little bit of negativity, I still think we’re going to do it, that’s the honest truth. I’m really optimistic, but that’s with knowing that there are one or two things we have to improve on. We will never, ever win games of football if we continue to give up the moments we gave up at the weekend.”

And on his own determination to see the job through, he commented: “I’ve never been more determined. I love this job, there’s challenges, but I love it here.

“I’m passionate about what I do and I have a belief in everything I do. It’ll come through, even though sometimes people lose sight of things after a couple of defeats. Not me, I don’t lose sight, and I know it’ll come through.

“I have to remind people that I’ve only been here for 12 weeks, and in that time part of the word that I used at the time was continuity. I didn’t come in here with the intention of changing too many things.

“So, for me to be judged in the manner I’m being judged at this moment is ludicrous, in my opinion. I haven’t implemented the discipline I normally implement on a group. I haven’t implemented some of the training methods. I haven’t implemented the fitness regime. I haven’t implemented all of the tactical ways on the team.

“Now, I’m not looking for excuses, because part of the remit of coming here was continuity. We’re not getting the results just now – accepted – but to be judged in the manner I’m being judged is ludicrous.

“If I’d come in here and had the opportunity to change every aspect, and do it my way, then you can absolutely judge me. But don’t judge me in that way right now. Yes, results haven’t been good enough. Yes, I take responsibility. But to ask if I am the right man longer-term is ludicrous because nobody has seen me in full as the proper manager here at Carlisle.”

“There haven’t been any talks about the immediate future, but I do think it would clear a lot of things up,” he said. “On way or the other it absolutely would, because there has to be clear planning. I can’t tell you just how important that is.

“You speak to any manager, even the top managers, guys like Pep, they wouldn’t go into a club mid-season. They wouldn’t do it because you can’t change all the things you want to change.

“I have tried to keep continuity, and I take responsibility. I’m not running from the responsibility here, but don’t judge me fully as a manager at this moment in time. That’s what I’m saying.”

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And elaborating more on areas he would look to change, he said: “When I left Fleetwood a week before the season started, and Uwe Rossler went in, he commented to the coaches who were still there that it was the fittest group he’d ever seen.

“I pride myself on aspects like that - and that will happen here if I remain in the job. I can’t do these things now, so it’s a gradual process. Fitness is the biggest aspect of any team because with it you can carry out everything else with ease, because physically you’re there.

“It improves your concentration and that means you do your job better for the full 90 minutes. In time I might need to change everything, because this club has been in this division for five years, and that’s five years too long.

“I have to be part of the structure that changes that, and I’ll do what it takes. If not this year, I’ll do what it takes next year. Look at Huddersfield, it was a tough first six months then the manager rebuilt during the summer and they flew. Sean Dyche at Burnley was the same.

“We would never have seen probably the greatest manager this country has ever seen, Sir Alex Ferguson, if it was based on his first few months. I’m not comparing myself to these guys, all I’m saying is please don’t judge me in the manner I’m being judged now. I accept the results aren’t good enough, but longer-term judge me on what I do as a manager when I get the chance, that’s all I’m asking.”

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