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MANAGER: They have to show me what they're about

Keith Millen on players making an impact

7 November 2021

Striker Brad Young, on-loan for the season from Aston Villa, took his Carlisle United goal tally to three on Saturday afternoon when he bagged the home side’s opener with just over 20 minutes left to play in the Emirates FA Cup first round meeting with Horsham.

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And manager Keith Millen spoke at his post-match press conference afterwards about the need for every player to be ready to make a positive impact, whatever it is they’re doing.

“Substitutes, starters, it’s not just that, they’ve got to make an impact in training as well,” he insisted. “I spoke to all of the players individually and they know I can’t pick all of them.

“I don’t know all of them well enough yet, and the only way for them to show me what they can do is in training. If someone sulks because they’re not playing, they won’t play.

“They have to show me what they’re about, and if you win football matches the competition for places is better.

“Winning means you’re not always trying to find solutions to things that didn’t work and you’re not always having to change things to help to find the results you need.

“That’s difficult, so we’ve got to find a way of playing that everyone is comfortable with, then people will get their chances.”

On the introduction of Young and Sam Fishburn during the second half, he added: “They both did well but I think that was a consequence of the hard work Tristan [Abrahams] and Lewis [Alessandra] had done in the first 60 minutes.

Match Reports


6 November 2021

“They worked so hard and they gave the Horsham defenders plenty to think about, so we knew they would probably tire.

“Lewi and Tristan never scored in the 60 minutes, but the work they did allowed us to put two subs on that were fresh and who then had the big impact in the game. That’s what you need.

“I’ve got a lot of options up front and it might be a case of two start and two come on. You want them all to make an impact, and they did.

“With Brad and Sam, they’re young lads, and that’s great, when we look forward we see there is competition for places.”

“Obviously Brad scored and if someone scores they normally jump the queue a little bit,” he continued. “I’ve got another game on Tuesday that gives me a chance to look at the players.

“I’m learning about them all the time. Barrow next Saturday is another big one, I’ll look at that and see what I think is best to try and affect the game.

“But both Brad and Zach scoring, it will give them confidence. Goalscorers need to score to get their confidence high. I’m pleased we scored two goals and also that we had a clean sheet.

“When you aren’t scoring it definitely affects the rest of your game. The hardest thing in football is scoring goals, that’s why the forwards get all the money. We had opportunities where we snatched at things or didn’t make the right final decision, but that’s normal when you haven’t scored.”

Heading into the half time break there was a feeling that something was starting to grow, with away stopper Sam Howes suddenly busy as he stopped efforts from Jon Mellish, Zach Clough and Tristan Abrahams.

Match Reports


6 November 2021

“That was good to see, because from what I’ve seen we haven’t had momentum in games enough so far this season,” he said. “I was pleased we were able to sustain that.

“It wasn’t like we attacked, then they attacked, because we had more control than that. Also that’s not the type of game I want to be involved in.

"I want us to be able to be on the attack and, if it breaks down, we can pick it up and go again. That’s all down to the structure of the team.

“The good thing was that every time we attacked and they regained it, I never really felt we were in trouble. That’s a good thing. It then comes down to taking your chances when you’re in their box.

“I have got options up front and I asked the front players, Lewi and Tristan, to work extremely hard for the team because they were the two who got the shirts. They did, they worked really hard, they tired the opposition and then the subs came on and made an impact. That’s exactly what you want.

“If a forward can run around for 60 minutes and be effective, brilliant. I can then take them off and put someone else on who can do the same. I’m still at a point where I’m trying to work out the best way of getting our forwards working as a partnership, but I was delighted with the effort.

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“With the younger players who came on – Sam and Taylor – I have to be careful with them that I protect them a little bit, because we are in a sensitive situation at the moment.

“Sometimes young players haven’t got that fear, they’re not carrying that burden of responsibility and they can just go out there and play. I thought they both did that.”

Missing from the team sheet due to a dead leg picked up at Northampton was winger Brennan Dickenson.

“He was close, he did a bit of training on Friday, but the problem with a dead leg sometimes is if you get a whack on it again you can get more bleeding in the muscle, and it can end up being weeks,” the manager told us. “He wasn’t fully fit. I won’t play players who aren’t fully fit.

“I’ve got enough choices. Hopefully a couple more days and he should be ok. I think everybody else came through the game fine. Normally when you’ve won a game the knocks don’t feel so painful, so we should be ok.”

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

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