United made it three league wins in a row with a more convincing victory than the score line suggests against Colchester on Saturday afternoon and we caught up with manager Chris Beech to get his reaction shortly after full time.
When asked if he agreed that it was the best performance from his team since taking over just before Christmas, he said: “Yeah, but we had some exciting games last season, Cardiff away and home, but in terms of league performance I agree.
“The lads represented a real proud, hard-working, honest performance for the supporters, and that’s what I was really pleased with.
“In terms of character, brilliant. We were very dominant for 43 minutes. Colchester’s first shot on target, they get a corner and score from it, but in terms of the way we set up, pressed, the hunger the players showed, the skill in the last third, the goals we scored, all very good.
“I was really pleased with the discrepancy in the game. Colchester were fighting hard and had some great players, and they got it back to 2-2 and fancied it, out of nothing, which can happen in this level of football.
“Our lads stood strong, had constant pressure, corners, free-kicks, shots, one on ones, to be honest I wanted us to make it a bit easier for me in the last 10 minutes, we didn’t, but it’s still a solid result.”
With an already high ratio of chances created and shots taken ahead of kick off, it was more of the same from the Blues as they played a brand of football that was difficult to cope with.
“Some of the chances, Gav Reilly was so close, Jon Mellish could have scored again,” he told us. “We only had the directors in, but I could hear them celebrating as it scraped the post. It’s a shame we didn’t score more. Mind you, I’m asking for more goals and we’ve scored three.
“It’s down to hard work. You watch these great teams playing great football on the TV. I’m a big admirer of Liverpool and the way they play, I love the energy in the full backs, the front three, the midfield, it comes through unbelievable professionalism and hard work. If the best guys are doing it, why can’t we try and achieve what we can at our level.
“The good thing is that we are creating constantly. My son Brandon is mad on the internet and he sent me a video text of Sky Sports talking about the fact we’ve had something like the second most shots in League Two on goal, and we’ve conceded the least amount of shots at our goal.
“That’s a combination for success. We’ve got to make sure we understand what we’re doing. I do, the players need to understand it and try and make victories easier, improve while you’re still winning. Football can soon bite you on your backside, we know that, but keep working hard.”
But for all that hard work it was demonstrated again just how unpredictable football can be as the away side bagged goals either side of the break to threaten that three-point feeling.
“When they scored just before half time I said to the boys, if we arrived at 1.30pm, if you’re a goal up against Colchester at home, that’s a great position to be in, but you still have to respect your opponents, because they’re very good,” he said. “I told them that they don’t think they’ll win the game, but I think we have a chance of losing it, because there’s a little bit of panic after the goal.
“I know it was only a couple of minutes before half-time, but even the set up for the retake of the goal on the halfway line, we didn’t even get that right. It’s amazing what a goal does to psychology.
“We settled down at half-time. They scored, a penalty, but we continued to have waves of attacks and we should have won that game a bit more comfortably.
“When the penalty went in I just felt like we deserved the three points. The first half performance was good enough to win three games. If you go and blast them, get the goals in the threes or fours, your opponents can only generally give up.
“We got to two, they got one before half time, it becomes a completely different psychology. But the first half performance was excellent.
“Then we had to show character. It was a full team performance, including a last minute save from Farms [Paul Farman], the only ball my centre halves didn’t really win on first contact. They let it bounce and got on the inside track.
“George Tanner did great not to bring him down for a penalty, and put pressure on the shot. Ironically Aaron Hayden who wins most things missed the header, but made up for it with the support of Farms on the save to keep the ball out of the box, and he got fouled doing it.
“To be honest, I don’t know how it ended up as 2-2 in terms of what Colchester had to offer, but they got it back, and that can happen. They were more League Two in how they utilise Luke Norris and Harry Pell, and Harry’s a great player who tries to play and referee the game.
“He’s brilliant at it, he’s a captain and a leader. He helped them to galvanise a bit, but overall I’m really pleased with our players and how they responded to setbacks.
“The biggest satisfaction for me is that people will look at the first 43 minutes and say that it was a very dominant performance, which is good, but the best thing for me is how we dealt with the discrepancy of them pulling back.
“To a man they all made sure they got what they deserved. When it got back to all-square we saw our players have that unbelievable intent and will to win, so alongside deserving to win they made sure we did.”
“These lads work so hard and that level of determination is what we want here in Carlisle,” he concluded. “We want hard working honest people and if we don’t get three points we don’t get them, but if we’ve worked as hard as we possibly can to achieve them then we’ll be giving ourselves a really good chance.
“Football being what football is, people look at the league table even now. Look, being at the top is better than being at the bottom isn’t it. The points tally’s been very strong, we got I think 1.6 points per game for the last 10 before lockdown, we lost two, won four and drew four.
“That points per game has gone up since we’ve been able to recruit more players from January to the summer, but it doesn’t mean anything. It can soon go away, so we’ve got to look after it.”
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