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MANAGER: It's good to watch these players develop

Steven Pressley on set pieces and on working hard to improve

1 October 2019

Important for United’s victory on Saturday was the clean sheet, a fourth of the season in all competitions, with an emphasis in the training sessions during the build up to the game placed on defending free kicks and opposition corner routines.

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“Both Gav [Skelton] and Nathan [Rooney] worked hard on preparing the lads for defending set pieces last week, so to get another clean sheet is brilliant for them,” manager Steven Pressley said. “I have to say, I worked on an amazing attacking set piece the other day, even if I do say so myself. I was desperate for us to try it, but we turned it down and Harry [McKirdy] had a shot instead.

“We worked on it a lot on Friday, and the boys were rejoicing on the training pitch because it was working every time. I was so desperate for them to do it, but they decided against it. We also worked on the cut back when Mo [Sagaf] had a shot, which he probably should have scored from, but we are working. We spent 45 minutes working on attacking and defending set pieces last Friday, so we are trying.”

“It ended up not being a brilliant performance but definitely a good result for us,” he continued. “I thought Mo Sagaf’s performance was outstanding. He’s improved tactically and in his understanding of the game unbelievably in the last eight weeks, when you compare him to the raw kid who came here.

“He understands when to press and when to recover, and he understands his role in the team. His performance was amazing, and we are doing some things right with him. It’s really great to see because he’s a player who can handle the ball and he’s taking on board what he needs to do and where he needs to be when the team is in and out of possession.

“On top of that he’s a tough individual, a really, really strong lad, although he looks lean and wiry, he’s a really strong, tenacious lad. Improving these players is the sort of thing I’m talking about.

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“The Jack Bridge’s of this world, who’s done amazing, wasn’t getting a game at Northampton last season. Harry McKirdy hasn’t played and we’ve seen him come in with lots of goals and assists. I think we’ve pushed on a lot of players who’ve come to this club with no reputation. We are trying to improve them. We work tirelessly with them.

“I’m not looking for a pat on the back but I need to stress that so people understand what we are actually doing. I’m pleased to see the development in people like him, it gives me great encouragement. The same with guys like Fela. He’s really developing into a really good League two striker with a goal return of five, which is amazing.

“I thought Mike Jones worked tirelessly and showed great composure at times. Christie [Elliott] gave one of his better performances today as well, and I thought he looked really in the mood today.

“There’s a lot of things I’m pleased about but I know there’s a lot to come, and I know it’s my job to keep pushing the group.”

With no midweek or reserve game scheduled this week, he said: “It’s the down week again for us, it’s a switch-off week. It’s something we planned in the schedule that we’ve had before.

“We normally work for six to seven weeks then have a shut down. Everyone will go away, I’ll finally get home to see my family, we’re all looking forward to that. It’s been a hectic period again and the players have worked hard to deserve this.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Steven Pressley on iFollow United now.

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