New head coach Chris Beech revealed at his first press conference on Tuesday afternoon that he’d taken the opportunity to watch the team on a number of occasions recently, with an opinion already formed on how he can push to get a pick-up in results.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to see the team play and I’ve been to the last couple of matches,” he said. “When we talk about reconnecting with the supporters, I think it’s pretty broad in terms of what they see out on the pitch is what I will see.
“The players will be asked to do certain things but there’s always freedom within any framework. It’s about being dominant in one against ones, go past your opponent, don’t turn back – keep going, it’s that sort of ethos and energy we want to create within our environment.
“I don’t really like the word philosophy, it’s very modern, but there are different ways to win football matches. There are different ways to put these philosophies in place, but the ultimate aim is that I want us to win games.”
“To be honest, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind,” he admitted. “I’m obviously meeting the press, I’ve just came out of a meeting with a few of the senior players and I’ve spoken to the board, as well as all the office staff.
“It feels good to be here but I’m under no illusions, it’s about winning. That’s what it’s all about. It’s how we go about what we do to achieve that which is important now. The fans want that, and I know they’ll be desperate for it to happen.
“There can be forgiveness there, and a little bit of understanding to what you’re trying to achieve, but ultimately it only lasts so long. The only currency in football is definitely winning football matches when you’re a head coach or manager.”
Delving more into the specifics of how results can be turned around, he told us: “I don’t want to sound like I’m taking this lightly, but the simple answer is that we need to concede less and we need to score more.
“We need more activity in front of an opponent’s goal, we need to dominate the ball better in areas that are better for us. We need to really look at putting our opponent under severe pressure, whether that’s with the ball or without. The lads have to support each other in how they go about doing that.
“It’s no good somebody doing it on their own, or me doing this on my own. We’ve got to have that environment that encourages growth and support. It’s challenging, but it will become successful if we get it right as a group.”
And on the size of the task, he told us: “I’ve seen the team play but I still have to assess the squad. We’ve got a tough period coming up which will take us into January. It’s important that the players have the opportunity to express themselves.
“If they want to follow then great, if they don’t then we’ll have to make the choices and changes at the appropriate times. I do want to make sure that we’re representing what I do as a person, which is honesty, integrity and hard work. You want your team to be an extension of your personality, and the players all have that in them.
“Going back to the obvious statements, we need to stop conceding, score more goals and win games. How you go about that, it’s your tactics, the players doing it. The players are the ones that implement a plan.
“I’ve often said this, and this is what’s changed from being a coach with a little bit more experience under my belt – it’s ok me having an ideal, but it’s got to be implemented. It’s got to be done when it’s under severe pressure. It’s got to be stuck to.
“Or slightly, at times, go off, but make sure it works. I’d score a goal for Steve Bruce at Huddersfield and then get criticised at half-time, ‘what are you doing over there?’ Well we’re 1-0 up against your old club gaffer, Sheff Utd, what else do you want? If you’re going to go off-plan, you make sure it works.”
Saturday’s trip to Forest Green will be his first time in the dugout for the Blues as he takes the team into the second round FA Cup fixture at the New Lawn.
“Whatever the competition or the game, we try to win every single one,” he told us. “I listen to the modern traits around football and hear people talking about games they want to win, but we want to win every game we play.
“I wouldn’t say I’m writing off the game on Saturday just because the most important thing is about getting points to get up the league at the moment. I want to win and compete in every game. Of course, we want to pick up positive league results, but we want to win every game in every competition we enter into.”
“It feels like I’m coming to a good place,” he continued. “The pitch is excellent and the training facilities are very good. I know the youth system train at a different venue. I’ve not been in the gym yet, but I’ll go and have a look at that, reintroduce myself to the staff, I’ve been impressed.
“I’m sure the lads will get to know what I’m about quickly because it’s important for them to do that. I like winning, I like high standards, if I’m being really, truly honest, I struggle with tolerance.
“I’ll tolerate if there’s substance to that tolerance, whether it’s some sort of lateness, lack of discipline in some way. But if there’s a game for us on a Saturday that’s the most important game, as long as it’s not too far from your principles, you have to adapt and deal with that.
“When I originally started it was this way or you can get lost, but not now. I understand managing people, it’s different than just coaching football. You’ve got to lead, coach and manage.”
“And what we can’t do is ignore the league position,” he said. “The only way isn’t just up, because this is football and there’s absolutely nothing guaranteed. We need to make sure that we are speaking about an elephant in the room and not ignoring it, looking at it in terms of we need to be better, pass faster, support players forward more, encourage more players taking players on, respond to setbacks better, make sure we’re competitive in games, make sure we’re winning football matches, and that will come out of habits and traits in training that support good practice in games when it’s under severe pressure. Players instinctively going somewhere they’ve possibly not been before. Why not get 20-25 goals, what’s stopping you?
“League Two is competitive, there are some technical teams in there now and there’s some great football. It’s a challenge to find the consistency we need but I want to take that challenge on. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.
“I want us all to be working hard and progressing together. I want this room buzzing, cameras everywhere, I want points, people talking about the form players that we’ve got in our system are in.
“I want problems where we’re trying to keep hold of them after they’ve played 45-50 games. I want them problems, good challenge problems. I want to win football matches.”
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