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Interviews

INTERVIEW: I'm desperate to get promoted

Jamie Devitt on scoring goals and a winning mentality

12 February 2019

When United’s equaliser hit the back of the net on Saturday afternoon it marked midfielder Jamie Devitt’s tenth goal of the campaign, the second season in a row with the Blues that he’s made it into double figures when it comes to bulging the onion bag.

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Having clipped the ball in stunning fashion past a despairing dive from Christy Pym, he spoke about his latest fantastic finish shortly after full time on Saturday afternoon.

“Usually when we get a free kick Danny [Grainger] and I have a chat about it but, for that one, he said right away that he thought it was for me, which is a first1” he said. “He doesn’t usually say that and normally we have to have a little fight to see who gets to take it.

“I felt confident about it because it was in the perfect position. I knew it was just a case of getting it over the wall and trying to make sure the keeper had some work to do. It went in and it helped us to not lose the game, so that’s the main thing.

“I’m always confident when I step up to take a free kick or a penalty. There are quite a few technical players in the team now so there’ll be more than just me and Danny lining up to take them from now, I would imagine.”

Having hit this rich of vein of form over the course of the last two seasons, he told us: “The fact that I wasn’t scoring during my first season here did affect me at that time, but they’re going in for me now and long may it continue.

“Nothing changes for me. I look back to when I was hitting the post and the bar and I know that things would look different if a few of them had gone in. That’s why I just keep doing things properly. If you keep doing things right eventually it will go your way, as it is for me now.”

The Grecians came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders at the weekend with the hosts having to dig deep to get themselves into the game.

“It was a game that was probably a tale of two halves,” he said. “We didn’t start off very well but the second half was more of what you expect to see from us.

“The frustrating thing is that you can feel it when you’re out there that things aren’t going your way. That starts to go through to the crowd, they get a bit anxious, and it’s then up to us to turn that round. Adam Collin made some excellent saves at the start of the game, so it was good that we kept going.

“That’s what we did and after 20 minutes or so we edged on top. We got hold of the game and we got better in the way we were doing things towards the end of the first half.”

“It shows the character in the team that we managed to get over our slow start,” he continued. “You have to remember that there are quite a few new players in the squad and we’re working hard to gel quickly.

“I thought Callum [O’Hare] was fantastic and I can see him being a very big player for us going forward. He’s full of quality and, when he did sign for us, I think we were a little bit surprised that we were able to get him. He’s one who will excite the fans and hopefully he’ll create chances for me as well.

“The other new lads are full of quality as well and I’m sure we’ll see that in the coming weeks. As a team we did well and in the second half and I thought it looked like we’d been playing together all season.”

One slight tweak to his role in the match day team is the false nine position, implemented on the arrival of new boss Steven Pressley midway through January.

“I am finding it a little bit strange, but the gaffer has been brilliant,” he explained. “He’s working with me on it and, to be honest, I don’t actually care where I play. He’s been excellent since he came in, a real breath of fresh air. Every manager is different, and you get on with some and not with others. Whatever that situation is you still play to your best.

“If he wants to put me in goal then I don’t care. The team winning games is all that matters because all I want is to see us getting promoted at the end of the season.

“I’m enjoying my football and I think you can see that when I go out on the pitch. I love chipping in with goals and assists and 10 for a season is my best. It’s a great bunch of lads here, the dressing room is one of the best I’ve been involved with, so we’ll just see what happens.”

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The point made sure United stayed right at the heart of the play-off places but the popular playmaker admitted that it was a subdued group after the game.

“The dressing room was a little bit deflated simply because we didn’t win the game,” he commented. “In my opinion Exeter are one of the best teams in the division and we matched them.

“The positive thing is that we’ve got the winning feeling and it’s one of the best things you can have. That’s why we were disappointed, because we wanted the three points. We were the team that looked like winning it in the end, which is a good sign.

“There are a lot of lads who were here when we played Exeter in the play-offs, and it wasn’t nice not to get through that. That hurt can drive you on sometimes and we need to use that as a driving force to get us to where we want to be. We don’t want to be in the play-offs, we want to be in the automatic positions.”

Having been shadowed by almost daily rumours that he was due to move on during the January transfer window, he admitted that he tends to ignore that kind of thing, preferring instead to concentrate on playing the game.

“I don’t think about things like that,” he insisted. “I just go out and try to perform to the best of my ability.

“Every day has just been a normal day. If the club had wanted me to move on they’d have called me in and had a chat, but there was nothing and I heard nothing. I don’t really care about anything like that, I just want to concentrate on getting promoted.

“It’s the same with next season. If the club say they want to wait until the end of this season that’s fine. I can’t say I’d want to wait until the end of the season, because we all have families to look after, but it’s nothing to do with me.

“I’m not going to go and knock on the door every single day to ask what’s happening. I just want to concentrate on my performances and hopefully we’ll be in League One next year with the team.

“One thing I can tell you is that I’m desperate to get promoted. I’ve gone up with a few clubs, but I’ve not been involved in it massively. I haven’t played loads of games or been a big part of it. It’s one thing that I’m desperate for, everyone will tell you that.”

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