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Interviews

INTERVIEW: I was just concentrating on my first touch

Striker Omari Patrick on his first goal for the club

25 February 2020

Striker Omari Patrick, who joined the club on transfer deadline day at the end of January, bagged his first goal for the club in some amount of style on Saturday afternoon as he registered a goal-of-the-season contender with a stunning finish from just inside the angle of the 18-yard box.

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The thunderbolt, which came on the stroke of half time, brought United right back into the game against Morecambe and sparked a comeback that almost led to a win and the three points the overall performance deserved.

Speaking about his goal after the game, he said: “It definitely felt good to score, but we were losing at the time, so I wasn’t really concentrating on it.

“I was just happy to get us a goal before half time, but I think when I watch it back I’ll feel a bit better about it! I knew the ball was going to come because me and Byron [Webster] have spoken about using the switch ball.

“As it was in the air I knew the defender was going to miss it and it was going to go over his head because I could see he hadn’t judged it correctly. I was just concentrating on my first touch, and to be honest that type of goal is my favourite finish. I like coming in off the left and trying to whip it, and I’m just pleased that it came off.”

“I knew I’d struck it well but when I was watching it myself I thought it was going to go wide,” he admitted. “It bent in at the last minute, so I think the wind might have given me a bit of help, but it was nice to see it go in. I knew if I managed to keep it in the corner it would be a goal.

“Obviously it’s good to get my first goal for the club. I wouldn’t say the pressure will be off me now, but it’s good to have that confidence and to know that I can score goals here. It’s good to break the ice and tick it off.

“I had a couple of other chances as well, and I do feel confident that I can get something. The keeper made a decent save from one of my shots in the second half, and after I’d scored in the first half I just kept trying to make sure my shots were on target, because if you do that anything can happen.

“You can get a deflection or a rebound, especially in that wind. As an attacker, as long as you keep having shots, at least it means you’re getting in the right positions and hopefully something might happen.”

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Having switched positions with Lewis Alessandra over the course of the last two games the nippy front man has also demonstrated the versatility which has made him an effective addition to the squad.

“When I first spoke to the gaffer when I signed we spoke about positioning,” he revealed. “When I was at Wrexham I played more of a central role, but in a two, and he asked me if I could play up there by myself.

“My favourite position is on the left, but I’m an attacker and I think I’m very versatile, I can play the left, right or middle. I probably need to work on how to play different types of positions, especially the middle. I spoke about that with the gaffer and he said he’ll always help me with things like that.

“The gaffer has been showing me lots of videos of some of the best players in the world and that’s good because it shows me that he believes in me and he really wants to make me a better player.

“He’s taking his time to show me things and tell me what to look out for. He’s got loads of experience and it’s good to get little tips and gain that knowledge from him. It’s little things like positioning that I know could be better, but that’s why I’m here. I’m here to learn and play football and do as well as I can.”

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Back to the impact of the goal, with it having come at such a crucial time, we wondered if it had made a difference to the tone of the team talk in the half time dressing room.

“At half time we knew that we could go out there in the second half and change the game around,” he said. “We took a bit of a breather at half time and reminded ourselves that we’re all in it together. As long as we keep fighting like we did in the last 15 minutes of the first half, we knew we’d get something from the game.

“We knew we shouldn’t have been two goals down so out on the pitch it just felt like we all knew we really needed to fight. We really need to start games like that rather than have to react, it shouldn’t take us to concede two goals for that to happen.

“I’ve been in teams where you go two goals down and you crumble, so it’s good to know that the boys have got that fight about them to make sure we get back into games. If we get that from the start, and it feels like it is coming, then I think we’ll start winning games. Once we start winning I think we’ll go on a bit of a run.

“On Saturday once that second goal went in it did feel like we would go on and win it. It was a brilliant header from Aaron and I think you could see that we all felt more confident after that.

“I think if we’d had the wind with us in the second half it maybe would have been different, because we had the momentum. You could tell that from the noise the fans were making. It’s always good to get a good reaction off the crowd.

“As long as you work hard and fight for the team, even if you make mistakes, the crowd will always be behind you. It’s definitely hard playing in that sort of weather. There are advantages and disadvantages of playing with and against the wind.

“When the wind is with you, sometimes you overhit passes and the ball gets away from you because it’s hard to judge. When the wind is against you it’s hard for the other lads to get it forward, but there are 22 players on the pitch and everybody is having to deal with the same thing, so you just have to get on with it.”

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And having settled in so well at his new club, he told us: “It’s just good to be out there playing football knowing I’ve got a team, coaches and the fans behind me that are all so encouraging.

“I haven’t really had that at other clubs so I think that’s really helping me, and I think it’s helping the team as well. I don’t feel like we ever panic, even when we go two goals down, like we did at the weekend. There’s always positive thinking around the place which is good to be a part of.

“There’s no doubt about this being the right move for me. I don’t think I’ve ever in my career played two 90 minutes in a row in the Football League. I did at Wrexham, but not in the Football League.

“In the last three games I’ve played two 90 minutes, and I think there was only a couple of minutes left when I came off, so I know it’s been the right move for me. I know I’ve just got to keep pushing now and try and play as many games as I can.

“I’ve moved up here as well because I thought it was important to do that. It means I can do extra work and things like that knowing that I’m only a five-minute drive away from home, instead of doing a long drive. It’s good for me to be local.

“What I will say is that it’s cold! I’ve just got to get used to it, there’s no point moaning about it, but it’s definitely different!”

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

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