United boss Steven Pressley gave us his reaction to the 3-2 away defeat at Swindon shortly after full time on Saturday afternoon.
“We have no complaints about the result,” he said. “I don’t think we deserved to win the game. We didn’t pass the ball in the manner that we have been and that was our biggest downfall.
“It was nothing to do with playing, it was that we didn’t play. That was our problem, and it’s something that’s been really evident, in our pre-season and in our first game, that we had the control and the courage to play.
“We kept turning it over, and the turnover is one of Swindon’s biggest threats. Because of that we could never then get control of the game and weren’t able to peg them back at all. We continuously lost possession in the middle third of the field and that really was our biggest problem in this game.
“The other thing from that is that we didn’t get our attacking wide players enough of the ball in the areas where we wanted them to be prolific. We saw that when we did manage to get the ball to them, they were devastating, so that was another really disappointing aspect.
“Like I say, I have no complaints about the result, I just know we didn’t play the way we know we can play.”
“When we had the ball, we turned it over in areas where we are normally very assured in possession,” he added. “That just isn’t what we are. I’ll look at the game again and I’ll have a look at the overall performance, but we can be better at key moments, I know that.
“The big factor is that we didn’t get anywhere near the control we needed and that was down to us, not anything else. I actually thought when we went ahead that it would settle us down. I think in the first half we only created one - possibly two - good moments and it was mostly backs to the wall stuff.
“We showed a lot of resilience during that period. Coming here when the crowd are behind them and they’re building momentum – we showed a good mentality to keep the score at nil-nil.
“To score when we did at the start of the second half was really pleasing, but we just didn’t manage to build on it. The reason we played Thomas and McKirdy is because Swindon, at times, leave a lot of one-to-one moments and I wanted the players who could expose that to be on the pitch.”
On the goals conceded, he commented: “I thought the first one was handball before it went in, but I need to see it again.
“Obviously the really disappointing one is the set play. We want to pride ourselves on being well organised but when you lose a goal like that it’s very disappointing.
“We’re not pleased about that at all, but we’ll go away, we’ll look at it and we’ll continue to work on it and try to improve. Their player who scored from that set piece ran late from the edge of the box, so they added an extra man, and we were marked man-to-man with Byron [Webster] as the spare one.
“Without looking at the information we give the players which is in the dressing room I’m unsure on who was marking him. For their third goal we were at a point where we had to try to get back into the game and we were done by them on the counter.
“This game gives us a little marker and it shows us that we’ve got a long way to go. There are good signs but there’s a lot of improvement needed ahead of us.”
Two of the plus points from the game were the goals scored by the Cumbrians, both created from good wide play.
“The first was a brilliant run and brilliant play from Harry McKirdy, and it was a good finish from Fela (Olufela Olomoal),” he commented. “The second was similar type of play from Nathan Thomas, in terms of eliminating the full back, and it was a great ball in for Mo Sagaf to score.
“They were two goals from the types of moments we always felt we could create in the game. We just didn’t create enough of them. When I spoke to the players at half time I mentioned that I wanted us to connect a bit more and to be more assured in possession.
“Credit to Swindon because they were a very effective team and I’ve said all along that I felt they would be one of the teams to beat. If we’re going to be amongst the teams at the top end of the league then these are the games we have to deal with.”
The manager will now use part of his post-match review to look again at the late sending off of Canice Carroll for his challenge on Swindon’s Jordan Lyden.
“I said to the referee at the end of the game that the one thing I think a referee has to do is be calm and take stock, and he didn’t do that,” he said. “He ran immediately across and he couldn’t get the red card out of his pocket quick enough. I don’t think that’s good refereeing.
“I think you have to manage the situation, consult your linesman and those around you, and make sure you get the right call. Whether it’s the right call or not, I’m not saying, but I didn’t think he showed any level of composure.
“It’s a straight red, so we’ll have to look at it and we have to see what sort of incident it actually was before we decide where we go with it. It was an aggressive tackle, I know that, but I couldn’t tell you if it was a red card or not.”
With the manager still looking to add another striker to the mix before the transfer window closes early in September, he told us: “There’s still no news as yet. It’s still a little bit clouded at this moment in time. It’s still in their hands.
“I spoke to them on Friday and they said they’d give me a definite answer on Monday, so we’ll take it from there. Hopefully in the next few days we should have a better picture.”
And on the availability of striker Hallam Hope, he told us: “He should be training on Monday. I’ll speak to Dolly about him, he’s due to be training with us but Tuesday might come too soon in terms of him starting the game. However, I imagine he’ll have some role to play on Tuesday.”
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