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MANAGER: The most enjoyable part of the week

Keith Millen on being in the home technical area for the first time

5 November 2021

As new manager Keith Millen heads into his second week at the helm it also brings with it his first experience of managing a game from the home technical area – something he is particularly looking forward to.

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“It will be nice,” he admitted. “I met all the away fans at Northampton, a brilliant turnout there, it was a first chance to see the fans and meet as many as I can.

“Hopefully they come in with loads of enthusiasm and energy because that will help the team. If we’re going to be successful and turn it round, we’ve got to do it together.

“There’s no way the players can do it on their own. Fans play a massive part. I understand their frustrations but hopefully they’re going to see a team that’s giving everything for the badge.

“If players do that, normally fans are quite happy. It would be nice for everyone to go home in a better frame of mind come Saturday evening.”   

“All the hard work we do here, Saturday afternoon is what I do it for,” he told us. “That technical area is where I think you earn your money as a manager or coach. It’s the key bit, because all the stuff you’ve done in the week is done.

“There isn’t that much you can do in that technical area, you can’t change that much, but you’ve got to read the game, read the way it’s going, and think about any changes you might be able to make tactically.

“That’s what you get paid for and it’s the most enjoyable part of the week. Why would you do all of the work through the week if you don’t enjoy being in the technical area! For me that’s where you go and do your work.”

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And with his feet almost under the table, he also admitted that it’s a challenge he’s thoroughly enjoying.

“If you don’t enjoy your job - there’s enough stresses as a manager - why would you do it?,” he countered. “I’m experienced enough to know the pressures and what’s expected.

“You don’t enjoy sometimes what’s said, and some of the pressures, but it’s part of the job. I’m loving it, loving being around here, the people I’ve met, I’ve met all the staff at the club. Everyone wants to be successful.

“If the whole club wants that, eventually you’re going to get there. I’ve realised I can’t change everything in a week, but I will keep asking, and keep trying to improve things.

“All you can do, as I said to the players - come in and try and improve yourself every day, and you don’t know where it’s going to take you. I want the players to enjoy working hard, coming to the club to be with each other rather than it be just a workplace where you turn up, do your two hours and go home again.

“It should be and has to be more than that. It's creating that environment where people want to come into work and improve. That will happen in time. I love a challenge, I’m really looking forward to it, I know what I want to do, it just depends how long it takes to hopefully get there.”

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And with a vast amount of experience to tap into, he told us: “Experience helps you in these situations, because when you haven’t been through something like this before it’s really tough.

“You think about everything, you don’t sleep, you question yourself about whether or not you’re doing things right, and you over-complicate things. Honestly, it’s tough, and I’ve been here before.

“Over the years I’ve learned to say, ok, yes, this is a tough situation, but what can we do today. Each morning I come in and say, right, what can we improve today because you’re not going to turn it around in the space of a week.

“As long as you’re taking the right steps going forward then that’s all you can do. I’m happy that when I go home tonight I’ve done everything I’ve aimed to do, and then tomorrow we’ll take another step. That’s how you deal with the pressure of the situation.

“You have to be the one who comes in every morning with a positive mindset. If I come in down and disappointed then how am I going to affect the rest of the group, the staff and the club? My body language is so important, and I said that to the players after the game on Saturday.

“At times we looked a little bit sorry for ourselves and people pick up on that. I don’t want that. Even if you aren’t winning the game there needs to be a body language about us that people look and think, well, it maybe isn’t going well but they’re going to fight until the final whistle.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Keith Millen on iFollow United now.

Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.

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