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Interviews

NTERVIEW: This is the most a gaffer has trusted me

Omari Patrick on his good form

17 December 2020

Striker Omari Patrick bagged his fourth goal for the club in some style on Tuesday as he took a neat through ball from Jack Armer on the outside of his boot before sending a crisp volley past a stunned keeper into the bottom corner of the net.

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His second of the season, it also proved to be the match winner as the Blues put on another excellent home display, taking their current run to eight wins from the nine league games played here at Brunton Park.

We caught up with him after full time on Tuesday to talk about that strike.

“I knew exactly what I wanted from the pass and credit to Jack – he gave me that,” he said. “What we said in training was that it’s unfortunate for Tanner that he’s missing, but with Jack being left-footed we know he can come inside and swing it. That’s why I made that run inside.

“What I thought would happen in my head happened, so credit to Jack for the assist, and I’m happy with the goal. I think a lot of how I scored is instinct.

“The finish itself is definitely instinct, but from Jack to me, we’ve been talking about it, him coming off that side and swinging it in with his left foot. That’s training ground, the partnership between me and him, just talking. But the finish is just instinct, touch and finish. 

“When the first touch sat up I knew, if I get this on target I’m scoring. The first touch was the most important and it made it easy for me.”

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On getting back on the goal trail, he commented: “It’s just great, scoring goals, there’s no better feeling. I had JJ out on the pitch saying you’ve got to pass to me today, I said no, I want to score!

“Couple of seconds later I scored, and said oh, I’ll try and pass to you now. It’s great, cos he wants to score, I want to score, Lewi wants to score, everyone does and do the best for the team.

“I’m glad I’ve got it out of the way. I just thought as long as I keep performing well, as long as I keep attacking, the goal will come. Now I hope they’ll keep coming.

“It’s been a bit frustrating but I just said to myself, try not to worry about scoring too much, if you keep playing well, the team keep winning, I’m happy whether I don’t score or do.

“Keep playing well, keep helping the team win, and goals will come - it’s just the type of player I am. I just had to keep believing in that.”

From the moment his volley crossed the line there was little doubt as to which way the result was going.

“Once we got the goal, I think as a team we just got that boost and we created a lot more chances after that, as we always do,” he said. “We could have scored a lot more but after the first goal you saw the team spirit. 

“Everybody wants to win. I’ve never been in a team where everybody just wants to win. Everybody wants to play, even the boys who don’t play, in training they’re in your face, we don’t do nice training sessions, we’re always at it, all the time, and that’s what you see on Saturday.

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“I think that’s why we’re getting our success, the gaffer is on us all the time, making sure that everything we do, even when we’re doing good, it’s not good enough. That in itself just takes this team so far.” 

Noticeable in his performances this season has the willingness to run and to try new things, particularly in the attacking third.

“That comes from the gaffer,” he revealed. “He’s saying ‘run, run’ all the time. Every time I get the ball all I hear is him in my head telling me to run forward.

“He’s right, we should all be confident, I shouldn’t have to check back, I should believe in my pace and ability to take on anybody. That’s what’s in my head at the moment.

“As long as I carry on and make the right decisions all the time – I can’t always run forward – he’s teaching me a lot. 

“Nobody has ever given me this much freedom and belief. It’s weird, I talk to Callum and I said to Benno in the changing room, I think this is the most I’ve played, as in a gaffer trusting me.

“I made my sixth start or something, my dad called me and said you’ve only done five starts in a row before, and definitely in my head, knowing I’m trusted, it’s great. It’s good to be a part of this and it makes you want to get up and train as hard as you can every day, and be the best you can.

“You know you might not get that again. You never know what happens down the line, but every manager is different, so I’m fully taking advantage of where I am right now, and of the team-mates and staff I’m with.”

Along with the backing the manager is an ever-strengthening bond with the fans.

“It’s great and I’ve never really had that before,” he told us. “The previous clubs I’ve been at was tough times for me. I went to Wrexham, that was very good, and I came here.

“I came off that good vibe into a good vibe, I think that’s why I love it here even more. The fans are great, even when we’re not doing as well as we should be, last season when I first came we weren’t doing that good and they were great.

“It’s good to know whether you’re winning or losing, they’ll back you. And it’s even better now they’re allowed back in. You get used to there being silence. It definitely gives you that extra boost when you go on, for me for example, when I’m going on the attack and can hear the fans, I know that’s giving me the extra to want to take somebody on.

“It’s very important because when they weren’t here, and as I was getting used to it I was thinking, I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like with the fans back now. Then they came back and you realise how much you miss them.”

The Blues currently sit second in the table, and we wondered if that had led to a rethink on team targets for the season.

“There’s definitely not a target,” he insisted. “The gaffer won’t allow there to be target. Literally it’s just game by game.

“We just look at the opponents in front of us and say we’re better than them, we can be better than them. But it only counts on a Saturday or Tuesday night - that’s what we do, look forward to the next game and try to get through it.

“Where we are isn’t bad at all, but we can’t get too excited and we know we need to keep going. Everything we’re doing we just do more, and if we keep going we’ve got a good chance of doing something special. 

“There’s a very good feeling inside the camp, on and off the field we’re always sticking together. The vibe is, it hasn’t been too different from when we played that first game at Cambridge and lost 3-0.

“That’s good of these boys. Even if we’re doing well, we come in, it’s behind us, we work to get better. There’s pressure but there’s not pressure – we put pressure on ourselves and we want to do well for ourselves and the club. 

“The first thing the gaffer wants is hard work. He wants the strikers to run and not be lazy, and everyone to do their part. And if you don’t do it, you don’t play. It’s definitely a credit to him that’s got me that way, because I haven’t always been that way with tracking back.

“He’s brought so much more to my game, training with the boys, seeing that intensity we train at. It’s very good, it’s helped me as a player and everyone else.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Omari Patrick on iFollow United now.

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