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MANAGER: It's important to have players who can do a number of jobs

Steven Pressley on versatility within the group

8 August 2019

United take to the road for the first time this season as they make the 536-mile round trip to Swindon with the manager looking for more of the same from his team following what was a good opening day to the new campaign.

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“We want to see another good performance so that’s something I’ll look at,” he said. “I’ll go down and watch them when they play Chelsea in the EFL Trophy and we’ll get ready to face them as normal.

“Once I’ve seen them play I’ll get a better idea of what I think is required to win the game.”

Having already spoken about the importance of recruiting players who can carry out a number of roles as we face different types of opposition, he told us: “It’s why I wanted to get different types of players in different areas.

“It’s really important to have players who can do a number of jobs. Jack Iredale played a lot of last year as a wing back, and he is obviously also a left back.

“You have the likes of Canice [Carroll] who can play at right back, right centre back and also in midfield, so you do need players who understand different jobs when your squad is this size. Along with that you need to be fit and robust, and that’s a crucial aspect of how we play.”

“With our two most recent additions, Canice and Ryan loft, they give us different options to the players we already here at the club,” he added. “I brought Canice on later in the game on Saturday to try to give us a little bit more physicality.

“Crawley were a big side and they brought on a couple of bigger players, which was in my thinking. I thought Harry [McKirdy] had ran his course and I thought we needed a little bit more stability to see out the final stages.

“With Ryan, people need to understand that players like him, where they rely partially on their physicality, don’t develop until a little bit later. Sometimes they go into leagues at 18 and they’re just not ready to play against some of the physical defenders they come up against.

“It takes a bit longer for big, physical strikers to develop, in my opinion. I see it all the time with physical players who are moving at 25 or 26, if you see their history before that a lot of it is chequered history. I think we’re getting Ryan at a really good time.

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“I spoke in depth to the Leicester under-23 coach [Steve Beaglehole] about him because he’s a player I’ve watched and he’s a player I like. I just wanted to be sure he’s ready, and I think he is. We saw his strength on Saturday, but he’s actually a very quick runner.”

“I thought both Olufela [Olomola] and Ryan did really well and made a really good impression, and first impressions are always important,” he commented. “Fela still has a bit of work to do in terms of match fitness.

“When we did our testing last Tuesday he was quite a bit away from the levels of our group, so he still has work to do. Although the players had a couple of days off, the likes of Fela and Nathan Thomas were given programmes to do.

“Considering his fitness, I was really pleased with Fela, and I thought his link play and his movement were really good. Ryan then came on and showed a real strength and was a focal point.”

And on a very productive display from winger Nathan Thomas, he said: “Nathan worked really hard for the team . I don’t think he’s fit enough, and I’m quite happy to say that, but in terms of giving everything for the team, he was really strong.

“You can see why we wanted him back. Every time he gets the ball in the final third you think something is going to happen.”

“Christie [Elliott] got a real test on Saturday, but I thought he came through it really well,” he said. “He’s a modern-day defender and I thought he stood up to his task brilliantly.

“I also think I should mention Jon Mellish, I thought he really grew into the game. He had a nervy start but you have to remember this is his first experience of league football.

“He started with a bit of apprehension, but he grew into the game and gave a terrific performance, especially in the second half.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Steven Pressley on iFollow United now.

Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.

 


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