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Interviews

INTERVIEW: I always back myself

Tristan Abrahams on penalties and building on the positives

24 August 2021

Forward Tristan Abrahams took his tally to two goals from four games on Saturday afternoon with a quite stunning penalty that literally ripped into the roof of the net.

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But it was evident from the moment he started talking to the press after the game that the importance of scoring goals on a personal level was secondary to the frustration at not having taken the three points.

“It is frustrating because of how well we started the game,” he agreed. “We know we should have created more good chances with the positions we got into and we should have taken the good chances we did create.

“We should really have put the game to bed in the first half, we didn’t, so we have to learn from that and take the positives. The way we’ve started the season has given us a good foundation to build on ahead of the next game.

“What we are doing is getting at teams with how we do things. When I signed I said I was looking forward to the style of play the gaffer uses and I think in the first half you saw the dynamic, high-tempo style.

“We moved the ball well and showed good energy, we just couldn’t take the chances. I really enjoy playing this way and hopefully the fans enjoy watching it.”

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So, that penalty. Confident, crisp and unstoppable, and never any doubt that it was the number 14 who would be taking it.

“We’ve had a bit of a joke about penalties in training because there are a few lads who want them,” he revealed. “I said straight away that if I’m on the pitch I want to take the penalties.

“As a striker it’s an opportunity to score a goal and I really back myself. There was a bit of pressure because I was at Orient with their keeper last year, so I took a few penalties against him in training.

“I know he’s a keeper who does a lot of research on them, I’ve seen that first-hand, so when I stepped up I knew it had to be a good penalty to go in. Luckily enough it was. He’s a good keeper but, like I say, I always back myself.

“The gaffer trusts me as well and I’m confident with any situation like that. He’s shown faith in me by starting me in every league game so far and I’m thankful for that.

“He’s been a man of his word, when I signed he said I would play games and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it so far. I hope I’m repaying the faith he’s put in me and I just want to keep building on it and keep doing well. I just want as many goals as I can get for the team.”

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Having dominated much of the game there was a sense of feeling stunned around Brunton Park when the O’s equalised with just over 15 minutes left to play.

“We made one mistake, which is how they got their goal, and that’s what happens in League Two,” he commented. “It was the same at Swindon last week but I have to say that defensively we’ve been very strong.

“That’s something I’m sure we’ll work on in training and look to get better at. If we can iron out the mistakes we’ll keep improving. The only chance they really had was for the goal and it came from us, so in the grand scheme of things that’s a positive.

“We know we’re improving. The group of lads we’ve got here is very good. We’ve got a good mixture of youth and experience, everyone is learning from each other and it feels like we’re starting to gel now.”

“But, yes, it does feel like two points dropped,” he continued. “We dominated from the start, maybe they did more with the big man up front in the second half, but we know that’s not an issue if we do better with the good situations we create.

“It’s a case of making sure we find the right pass or the last little detail is better. It will come, the season has only just started, and I think we’ve had a positive start. We won’t get too wound up about it, we’ll keep going as we are and we’ll be a test for every team we play against.

“At this level you come up against different challenges and you’ve just got to find a way to adapt and still score goals and win games.

“If you look at our first four league games, we know we should probably have taken more points, but if you’d told us we would start like this we would have snapped your hand off.

“We’ve been solid, we’re playing good football and we’re still unbeaten. It’s a long old season and when we start turning some of the draws into wins it’ll stand us in good stead.”

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And on his own settling in process, which has been helped by the goals, he said: “It’s wonderful to play with Lewi Alessandra and Brennan Dickenson.

“They’ve got plenty of experience and they both know how to create chances. As a striker I know that if I’m in the right places they’ll find me. Hopefully we can keep building the bond we’ve got going and start scoring more goals.

“I’m getting used to how Jon plays as well - Mellish is Mellish. He’s always running and always seems to be in the right positions to score, which you saw from how well he did last season. I know if we work together and get that bond going we’ll both get goals.”

With no midweek game on the calendar, it means that the ‘derby’ meeting with Hartlepool is the next outing for the Blues.

“It will be good to have a free week to recharge and really concentrate on training,” he told us. “We’ve had a busy start to the season with a tough few journeys and away games.

“I can’t wait for the Hartlepool game. I’ve spoken to a few fans around the city and you can see that they’re all excited for it as well. I think we’ve sold out the away end and I always enjoy playing in front of a crowd that is very energetic.

“I’m sure all of the boys are looking forward to it and we’ll feed off their support and try and get the win for the fans.

“They’ve been brilliant, and it was lovely to hear the majority of fans cheering when we took the knee on Saturday. We appreciate their support. We’re just here to do our best for the fans and for the club. To hear them get behind us was really appreciated.

“I just want it to be clear that it isn’t a political statement, all we’re doing is saying we’re against racism and discrimination, there’s nothing more to it than that.

“We take the knee to show that we want equality in sport, and all we ask is that the fans get behind us and continue to support us doing that.

"The knee before the game just makes people aware that we want to kick racism out of football, and we want to go in the right direction.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Tristan Abrahams on iFollow United now.

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