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INTERVIEW: I have to utilise a small squad

Chris Beech on getting the best out of his players

28 December 2019

Head coach Chris Beech spoke more today about what is a busy period ahead, with three away games coming up in the space of the next nine games.

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“We’ve had three aways and three at home since I came in, and it has been busy,” he said. “Now we have Walsall, Crewe and Cardiff - I never look past 3 games. I never do that, because so much happens in football in a week, hence not even having enough pros last Saturday, to this weekend, where more are back.

“That’s unfortunate for people like Taylor Charters who was available, but while he was at Workington and he wasn’t available for me we needed him, and he might have got an opportunity sooner. It’s funny how things work out like that.

“We were in a situation for this game where some players were out of the 18. I’ve got to look at the past, and if I keep scratching a scab it will never heal. We’ve been conceding a lot of goals through certain ways and trends, so I have to look at that and try my best to utilise that small squad.

“It was hard last Saturday with 16 fit professionals travelling to Colchester. The weather was horrific hence the game nearly got called off at 1.30pm, it was so difficult to prepare to play in it. But that happens. If you do get an excuse out of me you’re in your rights to remind me. But I will try, we want to work in a no-excuse environment, whatever gets thrown at us I want to win.”

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“I know we need to score goals and the lads are working hard at that,” he continued. “We’re doing extra finishing. With Lofty, I feel there’s been a big improvement in how he’s trying to approach playing as a 9.

“But, of course, I spoke to him and said I’m going to have to leave you out today because I felt we needed the extra pair of legs in midfield, which was Mo Sagaf. Ultimately in the five games, Lofty has been getting closer to scoring. He nearly scored at Colchester, he had a shot blocked by the goalkeeper’s legs and I don’t know how he didn’t connect with Christie Elliott’s cross-shot.

“He is getting closer, and he’s a good lad that wants to work harder. I’ve challenged the lads to get fitter, stronger, faster, quicker, and I have to stick to those traits. If you’ve noticed I’ve tried to be tactically astute, utilise our own squad to the best of our abilities, but I’m mindful that if we play too many players in terms of looking back at the game and concentrate on conceding, you’re never going to win.

“I’m not a defensive coach, I’m a possession-based coach that wants to dominate the opposition. How to do that takes time and great disciplines on the training ground in terms of running people hard, getting on the ball, being brave, turning out instead of playing back, dipping and shooting, running off the ball forwards, lots of intricate details we’ve got to keep encouraging at the club, amongst the first team, in our youth system and in our schoolboy programme.”

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And on getting the best out of the squad going forward, he told us: “We’re looking at various positions for January but we also have good players here who can do more.

“You’ve seen the emergence of Aaron Hayden from not being involved, to centre-half / right-back, again he was excellent against Bradford. You’ve seen Gethin Jones who was signed as a right-back, playing left-back.

“I’ll try my best not to revisit the past while we try to build and step forward. It’s not served us or our club very well. I’m trying to utilise players in different positions, it might surprise some of the supporters in terms of their personal attributes.

“I left a player out of the squad who I know probably can affect a game further up the pitch, he’s quick, has a good shot and cross and great legs for a big pitch like we have. I look at that. If I want to put him on today in front of two centre-forwards and an attacking midfield player, you’d probably have got ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ from the fans.

“I’ll continue to work with what we’ve got and, as I’ve said, I’ve bene really pleased with the reaction the players have given me.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Chris Beech on iFollow United now.

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