United boss Chris Beech was at Old Trafford last night to see first-hand this weekend’s opponents as they took on the might of Manchester in the quarter-final of this season’s Carabao Cup competition.
And he revealed at his Thursday morning press conference that he has also used this week to get out to see potential new recruits as the January window begins to poke its head above the near horizon.
“It’s the busiest part of the season for two reasons,” he said. “We have games coming thick and fast, with the training and preparation that goes with that, and we’re also mindful that we’re in a position to recruit.
“I’ve watched two Premier League games this week, it’s been amazing really. I was at Wolves against Tottenham on Sunday and I was at Old Trafford last night to check on Colchester.
“Obviously this is a big club, but at clubs that are already in their flow and with bigger finance they’ll have people who do this kind of thing for the manager. I don’t mind this.
“I don’t mind getting my hands dirty, it’s great, because I get to see things first-hand. I was in the director’s box last night shaking hands with Sam Allardyce so, you know, what a hardship that is. I enjoyed the game and it was good to see the Colchester players live.”
“Yes, a lot of me getting out there is with January in mind, but we have to remember that the window opens on New Year’s Day, but it doesn’t shut straight away. There’s no need to panic and stress about things like that.
“I’m still in the infancy type areas of being in this job so I’ve got to give these players the opportunity to express themselves as well, but while we try to protect and enhance our chance of getting three points.
“I have a definite eye on potential ‘ins’ as such, players who can come in and strengthen the squad, but opportunity, finance and timing are all big factors in being able to do that.”
In terms of looking at new faces to add to the current group, he told us: “I’ve got three or four options and I’ve asked about two or three players already in the last few days.
“But, and like I’ve said a couple of times, I’ve also got to make sure that I give opportunities to the players who are here. It’s a balancing act because I have to make sure I protect myself along the way.
“Something else I’ve said before is that the only real currency in football is results. That’s why you have to look at every aspect of what you’re doing and make sure that the work done puts you in the best position possible to push on.
“Hopefully, in terms of work, we’ll need to do as little as possible with as much as possible, less is more, and it’s all about winning. Of course, we’re working hard to make sure we’ve got information, and we’re working hard to make sure if opportunities arise at different clubs that we’re aware of them.
“It is a hard window for free transfers but it’s a good window if you’ve got a lot of money. It’s also a little bit difficult in terms of loans because most clubs have their full quota. That’s why we have to weigh things up and then act accordingly.
“With players, you don’t want to keep someone if they’re not going to play, you don’t want to keep them if they’re not happy, and that’s where you have to know you have a commitment from the player that they’re going to represent the core values of your football club.
“If players are showing those traits then I will support them being here. If not, I can’t support that, because it weakens who we are. It’s harsh, professional football, it’s a competitive industry, more than most, really.
“You can’t beat a competitive environment and, whatever age the players, we want them to be representing the shirt with the core values we talk about.”
With transfer window rules now tightened to allowing activity within a very restricted timeframe, we wondered if he was a fan of the new approach of having just the summer and January windows within which clubs can get their business done.
“I think the rules now support clubs with a bigger budget,” he commented. “If you’ve got the most money you can sign the best and biggest squads and you’re locked in until you get to the next window.
“I think in the past, and including Rochdale and Bury, when I worked at those two clubs, when you could loan a player for a month you could swap him for another one if things weren’t quite working out.
“That’s a great tool to have when you’re a lower budget club. It doesn’t really matter when you’ve got 30 professionals and a bigger budget because if five of your players aren’t doing it, another five might do. We just can’t operate like that.”
Also revealed at the press conference was the ongoing work to restructure the behind-the-scenes staff.
“This is irrelevant of Nathan moving on, but there are areas of the club I want to support the lads with,” he explained. “We haven’t got analysis and we have lots of contacts, but don’t have a chief scout. It’s things like that.
“I’ve been in discussions with David Holdsworth and he’s been very supportive. Hopefully you’ll hear some more news on that in the next day or two.”
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