United’s haul of 10 points from 12 from October has seen them marry strong performances with positive results, and manager Chris Beech spoke this week about the way his squad is coming together as a unit.
“It’s good to see, and it’s how I like to watch or support football myself,” he told us. “I’d love to play in this team because there’s a great togetherness.
“We need a little bit more quality at times, and that’s when we’ll really tick. Look at Tuesday and that last pass through to Lewi Alessandra, that’s the type of moment,” he said. “It was just an inch too far in front of him for him to be able to slide it into the bottom corner. You get these moments right and you’re talking about us having a very good day.
“All we can do is keep improving, which we are,” he added. “It was difficult when I got here in November because we were five points off being a non-league team.
“We ended up 20 points clear and even though we didn’t win as many as I would have liked, we definitely got better at not getting beat. To be critical of not scoring more last Saturday, even though we got three, and to be talking about that same disappointment in the detail on Tuesday night, I see them all as positive negatives right now.
“It’s vital that we understand that, and what’s also vital is that expectation levels have to be managed at the same time as the players understanding where this can grow to if they get everything right.”
Speaking more about those expectation levels, with a real feeling of confidence going into every game, he told us: “It’s great that the fans have that, because that’s what we wanted to build.
“You want to win in any sport. I believe we have a squad that’s capable of winning League Two games. We’re physical, we’re quick, we’re exciting going forward and they’re backed by a strong holding midfield and a strong defence.
“We’re getting goals from midfield, from set pieces and from around the players in the group, and if you put all of that in one bag you’ve got good credentials to win games. That’s what we train hard to put together and that’s what will look after us in the long-term.”
With so many good chances created, he spoke again about the need for the lads to find that ruthless streak.
“I really do think we’re so close to a really comfortable win,” he commented. “On Tuesday we hit the bar and the post, we had one cleared off the line and there were so many other good moments.
“It’s about turning all of that into goals, and that’s what you pay extra pound notes for. Gime Toure is very capable of scoring the chances he’s been getting.
“He’s got a real opportunity to make a name for himself in professional football and seriously change his life if he puts those chances in the back of the net every week.
“Will missing them get into his head … you don’t know, who knows what footballers think about. The psychology of goals is a big part of it. Look at the Oldham game, we went one up but we got a bit sloppy in our clearances.
“If we’d kept doing the same things we were doing we could have made that game easier to win for ourselves. It’s about being a little bit more streetwise without actually playing any better. Sometimes you’re better playing not as well and winning a little bit uglier. It was tough, but the lads did really well. I just think with Gime it’ll be a bit like Jon Mellish. Once he scores one it’ll relieve a bit of pressure and he’ll get himself on a run.
“I know he’s very disappointed that he hasn’t scored. He’s got to be more ruthless but that’s an easy thing for me to say. The players have to find that moment and relax at that point to make sure they score.”
With so much competition for places already, each game is a step closer to the return of Omari Patrick and, with Micah Obiero added to the ranks, it’s a squad that looks healthy and potent.
“There’s Omari, and Micah will be training with us on Thursday,” the manager said. “Micah will have to adjust to what we need because the traits of what I demand of the group come from me, but the group understands them and it’s now part of who we are.
“We didn’t have him at Oldham. He had a couple of things he had to do up at Huddersfield, he’s been training with them. It’s important that when he comes in, even though he’s got a short window to have a look at him, he’s got to prove himself.
“He can’t just bench or oust one of our players given these great attributes you’re seeing and reporting on. It would be unfair and mismanagement from me to do that. He has to earn his stripes. If he’s much better than what we’re doing then he plays. If not he’ll have to be patient and work his way in.
“We’re constantly trying to improve within our framework and when we get it right, I can see us doing well.”
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