United boss Steven Pressley spoke to us about what had been an exciting month at Brunton Park as he reflected on this week’s activities in the transfer window market.
TRANSFER WINDOW: I can't remember a transfer window as exciting as this one2 February 2019
“It felt like it was a very important window for me,” he said. “I made it clear after last weekend’s victory at Port Vale that the squad had done remarkably well to get into the position we’re in, but it was clear to everybody that we had to bolster the group.
“My thinking was that the remainder of the season would very much depend on the five or six days between the end of the Port Vale game and the closing of the window. Thankfully we’ve managed to do the business we wanted to do.
“A lot of the business done has certainly been players we identified as top targets and, in my opinion, we haven’t made any panic signings. They’ve all been calculated, and we’re really pleased with that.”
With the fans taking to social media to praise the manager for the quality of the additions and the resulting impressive strength of depth in the squad, he told us: “There’s no guarantee with any signing, that’s the way football is, but we can only identify what we think is the right player for any given position, and that’s what we’ve done.
“There really is no guarantee they’ll come in and perform, you only hope that will be the case, but if you’re asking me if we’re pleased with what we’ve done – 100% we are.
“We obviously missed out on a couple of strikers who are well known to the fans, and they would have really bolstered the squad and made competition very fierce. However, I think we have the nucleus of a very good group now and it sends out the message to the players who have been here for a while that we do want to achieve what they’ve been working so hard to achieve so far.
“With that in mind it’s been a very good transfer window for the football club in my opinion. I think the fans will be happy because they’re just like the players in the dressing room where, at times, they need to feel the ambition of the club.
“They need to see that the club really does want success and that can only be demonstrated by the signing of players. It was important with the position we’re in that we showed that ambition, and I believe we’ve done that.”
As for the message the transfer dealings have sent out, he told us: “We’re telling people that we are serious about achieving our goals this season.
“Everybody could see that we’d lost players from the group who were part of the starting 11 and that meant we needed players who are as good, if not better, to come in to provide competition and help to plug the gaps.
“They do have to bed in quickly, that’s just how it is in January, but we’ve already started drilling into them the standards we expect. The current players have a part to play in that as well. They’ll need to mould the new lads into what the group expects of them, because that’s the reality.
“Any successful football club is partially driven by the staff, but it’s also driven by the players in the dressing room. I think we’re all excited about what we’ve put together because another part of a successful team is looking at it and being able to think that you can score goals from almost anywhere. We have that with this group.”
And with top targets secured and in the building well ahead of the Thursday deadline, he commented: “It wasn’t a window where we were scrambling away on deadline day or trying to bring bodies in just for the sake of it.
“We’re maybe one away from being delighted, we made no secret about that, but we are really pleased with the work done. Hopefully we’ll see the benefits of the hard work in the coming weeks.
“It was funny because after the game last week, and it sticks with me, Gez [Anthony Gerrard] made the comment in the dressing room that we needed reinforcements. You know, he was right, because those lads had been working really hard to get to where they are.
“Honestly, and I’ll say this again, when you’re a player in that dressing room you need to feel the ambition of the club and the manager. When Gez said that it stuck with me and that’s why I knew last week was going to be a really important one for that group of players.
“There’s no guarantee now that we’ll go on and achieve our goals, but you must show everybody that you have the ambition to achieve it by your actions. I think we’ve demonstrated that.
“The board have given their backing to this because I think they can see this is a real opportunity for us. These chances don’t come every season, so you have to grasp them when they come along. We can’t claim that we’ll do it, but we’re going to do our level best.”
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