United boss Chris Beech gave us his reaction to the Saturday afternoon away draw at Morecambe.
“I was very pleased with the structure of the team, the effort of the lads was good, but with the actual technicality within the match we need to get better,” he said. “We need to improve when it comes to passing and moving the football because when we do that, we look very good.
“I was pleased with the spine and structure of the team, it stood strong in what would always be a tough game. The thing is, there’s no pressure whatsoever on Morecambe, they’re bottom of the league and they can’t go anywhere else than up. The pressure was on us to make sure we didn’t get beat and I’m pleased we didn’t.”
Having started the game with teenager Jarrad Branthwaite sat in front of the back four, he explained: “Jarrad’s a good passer, and he missed last week’s very good performance with illness. Canice Carroll came in and his work rate is excellent.
“I gave him good accolades after the game last Saturday. It’s hard to make decisions like that but I’m doing it for the benefit of the team and for all of us to try and move forward. I spoke to Canice at length in the week, and I want him to try and get forward more, to get into the box more, to score more goals for us.
“I felt Jarrad has the ability to pass and switch play, but we didn’t use him enough. But he won all his headers, did an immense, strong tackle in the first half, was excellent in terms of having a go at what he was trying to achieve.
“I think it would have been wrong to swap last week’s centre-half partnership, I want to build, I don’t want to dismantle. Jarrad, I’ve seen him now for about 10 days, and I’ve coached a lot of very good young players, but he’s excellent. I had Dale Stephens at 17, he plays Premier League football for Brighton now, and he is definitely better than Dale at the same age.”
“I changed it at half time,” he added. “We had Jarrad spare as a four in the first half, and I just matched up in midfield with Scougs as a 10, to put more pressure on Morecambe’s back line and to try and get more bodies around Lofty [Ryan Loft].
“He worked hard and backed in well, but I’ve been working hard over a short space of time to get the players to recognise what’s important, and to get better at it. I was really pleased with the fact we scored another great goal, the so disappointed for the supporters because I’d like to get over five minutes of actually being in front in a game.
“I’ve witnessed four excellent goals, three legal, in the last two games, and we now work really hard at getting in good eras. Nathan Thomas talked about it in the changing room, about getting the little drops, things that happen more for us, and it will come with continued consistent disciplines if we keep taking the gamble in certain situations.”
Speaking more on that important period just after we’ve scored a goal, he told us: “You could argue that it shouldn’t have got that far because there was a high boot on Aaron [Hayden] and the lads are adamant the Morecambe player kicked it out and it should have been our throw.
“The chap who tries to shoot it comes off his shin and goes straight to the back post to John O’Sullivan. It’s just … what can I say? Sometimes League Two football does that to you. What I am happy with is the response from the lads.
“They keep getting knocked but they keep coming back at it. From my perspective, not knowing them that long, that’s a good thing. We’ve seen some unforced errors, which we need to get better at, but at the same time we were up on shots for and against.
“I was comfortable, I can’t remember Adam Collin making saves, and I felt as though if we’d passed inside more and used Jarrad more we would have dominated possession better. We have to get better at switching it, and we have to make sure that when the ball’s laid to cross, we cross it well.
“When it’s headed back across goal we need to flood the box to get the goal. When they defend and kick it out, we’ve got to regain it and retain it quickly to create waves of attacks rather than individual attacks. When we get that rhythm going, I’m very confident of getting in a winning rhythm with the lads.
“This was another game I went to win, and I made substitutions to step up and go for the three points. When the game loosens up we need to push more, we have to manage those moments better. I’d like us overall to pass the football better.”
One real moment of quality within the game was the goal scored by the Blues just two minutes after half time.
“Hallam’s pre-movement before the ball is played is exactly what we’ve been doing in training, but we need more of that,” he said. “Not necessarily out of them two, it’s more the other players joining in with showing that quality and those technical aspects that I’m asking for.
“They worked hard, kept going even though they kept getting jabs, and we have to realise that we’re not going to get our own way. If we did we wouldn’t be in this position. We’re working hard to have structure and quality within what we do to make sure it supports us getting three points.”
Another talking point from the day was the challenge on Gethin Jones with seconds left on the clock which left him on the floor and looking towards the officials for the penalty.
“I’m not going to get myself in trouble but it’s a penalty,” he said. “It’s disappointing for everybody, isn’t it – not just the fans, the chairman, the lads, we all feel hard done by.
“The lads have worked really hard for what would be two football matches and they’ve got two draws. I’m happy with that effort and I want that effort to be represented with three points.”
We’ll have more from the head coach following the game on the official website early this week.
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