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MANAGER: The players deserve great credit

Chris Beech on a top half finish

5 May 2021

With the league table as it is leading into the final game of the campaign it’s highly likely that the Blues will finish in tenth spot, all things being equal, with the players having made themselves extremely difficult to beat through a recent run that has seen them lose just one of their last 10 games.

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“Finishing tenth ... the word is proud,” manager Chris Beech said. “I said it at Cheltenham as well, because we’ve only lost that one game in 10. We’ve been unlucky, we hit the bar at Bolton, the post at Bolton, the bar at home to Harrogate, I know it’s unfortunate, but they can go in for us.

“We did it again at Cheltenham. We’ve been unlucky within this period, but we’ve been pushing in it and I’m just proud of the boys that they’ve done that for us, really.

“With what we’ve been through, and I don’t want to revisit it too much and get people thinking we’re making excuses, but we have been through some really extreme situations.

“So getting to where we are now is something we should feel pleased about. I think the players deserve great credit for their efforts, and we actually don’t need to be negative in one bit.

“Going to the last minute of the game at Orient to get the win shows us all that these lads want to try their best for themselves and their club.”

“I do think we have to think about what these mostly young players have been through,” he added. “It opens me up to go back over old ground in terms of coronavirus and games off, because I and we as a club have been put in the worst position of the 72 clubs of the Football League because of that situation.

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“There’s no getting away from that, and we’ve recovered really well to lose just one game in 10 from where we were. All my players were 1,000 metres down on ground covered when they were coming out of that, that’s 10 kilometres less than what we were before Christmas.

“So, we’ve done great, because we can’t train hard to recover, we have to play to recover and then crack on to try and aim for something. I’m really proud of those efforts.”

And on looking to the improvements needed for next season, he commented: “I don’t think there’s too much rebuilding needed, it’s more a need for consistent behaviour.

“David [Holdsworth] and the club have been diligent in their negotiations to look after the finances, because we’re working in a time where businesses are struggling for income themselves.

“It’s so difficult for football at this level, but we did our best last summer and we’ll do the same again. I wanted character in the team that can respond to setbacks, as they showed at Orient, and that’s what I want to hold onto next season.

“I want to encourage fast passing and touch, good movement, players taking players on, the kind of things we saw in abundance pre-Christmas. If we can be consistent and if we can deal with things that get thrown at us, then we’ll be able to progress again, which is what we all want.

“Like I say, there’s no point continually going over old ground, but I’m pleased with how the players responded to what happened to them. We’ve made ourselves really hard to beat, it’s a group that doesn’t like losing, but we want to turn more of those draws into wins by being good at what we do.

“That’s our aim going on from here.”

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