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MANAGER: Important to understand the area you're working in

Keith Millen on settling in at Brunton Park

27 October 2021

United boss Keith Millen confirmed this week that his first priority is to assess the squad at his disposal, before he even thinks about turning his attentions towards the January transfer window.

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“I’ve had initial conversations about the January window and there will be money there, but I don’t spend owners’ money if I don’t have to,” he said. “Recruitment is so important at any level, you’re almost gauged how good you are on your recruitment.

“I’ve obviously got a lot of connections in the game so we’ll see if I can pull a few favours, but we’ll have to wait and see.

“I need to get to know the players individually over the next few weeks. I need that relationship with them to help me get the best out of them on the pitch and off it.

“They need to trust me and understand that if I’m telling them that something isn’t good enough it’s for the right reasons, it’s never personal. I’ve had it in my career where it gets a little bit personal, and you can’t do that.

“It takes time to build those relationships. I can only start 11 players on Saturday so there will probably be another 11 who will be disappointed. That’s why I need to try and get to know the squad very quickly.

“We’ve got the FA Cup then the Morecambe game in the trophy coming up which might give me an opportunity to have a look at the majority of the squad.”

“If we do go after loan players, for example, I want to get a reputation here of playing attractive, attacking football, because that will help to persuade clubs to let us have their better players,” he continued.

“If clubs see us as a place that doesn’t help to develop players, you won’t get them to come here in the first place. It’s important that we’re seen to be coaching them well and playing a certain way, because you’ll then have more chance of getting a couple of loan players and things like that from bigger clubs.

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“I have got a big contact list in the game, which is really important. I obviously know the London market really well. For us to bring someone up from London is something we can look at, we’ve already spoken about how that might work.

“It might be a case of bringing in two from the same club, or something like that. The first thing is that the players need to be comfortable coming here, then we need to look after them.

“We’ll see, we’ve got ten games before the window and the squad looks like a good squad. I’ve got to get the best out of them in the next ten games then see where we are. After all, we might not need to add any players at all if those here kick on and start to settle into their season.”

Away from the on-field activities, a big part of what the club does revolves around the fans and the local community.

“I’m really keen to be in and around the area and speak to fans,” he told us. “I’ve been to a lot of different clubs and I know it’s important to understand the area you’re working in and what the fans want and expect from their players.

“From what I’ve seen already, and it’s the same with most fans to be honest, they want to see their team giving everything for the badge. I want to get to know the area, it’s new to me, and I want to get to know the fans and what they want.

“I think the more I can meet them and explain to them more about me, the better it will be for me to build those relationships. If this club is going to be successful, it has to be from the top down, it can’t just be me saying it with the players and my staff, it has to be everyone.

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“The more the fans understand where I’m coming from, the better chance we have of being successful.”

“When I go somewhere, I’m all in,” he insisted. “When I first went to Bristol City I said to my wife that we would probably only be there for a year, and we ended up being there 12 years.

“When I’m in somewhere, as long as I know it’s right and I feel like I can do some good, I’m happy. I’m here now and I can’t wait to get started.

“I think the key word for all of this is trust. I’ve already said to the staff that I’m coming here to enhance what they’re already doing. I’ll be learning from them, they’ll be learning from me, and hopefully we all become better as a unit.

“It has to be based on trust. It’s the same working up with myself and David Holdsworth. I worked with a director of football in Sweden, so I’ve had that relationship. I’m all about communication, I’m sure David will have his ideas and I will have mine, and hopefully we come to a good conclusion.”

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And he also confirmed that the current backroom set-up is one he is more than happy with.

“I went over to Sweden on my own so there’s no problem with me working with the existing staff,” he told us. “They need to learn quickly about me, and I need to learn quickly about them.

“They will know things and do things that I haven’t seen before and that’s the beauty of football coaching. I’m not going to pretend I know everything, but I know what I want.

“I’m sure the staff will add to what I’m doing, and I’ve already said to them that if they don’t think something is right for the position we’re in, we can hold fire on it.

“The ideas I’ve got aren’t all going to happen in two days or even two weeks, it might be a case of little and often then see where that takes us.

“The great thing is that we’ve got time to improve the results. If there were five games left it would be a different conversation. Where we are is not a great place to be, but there won’t be any talk from me about relegation.

“Whether we win on Saturday or not, we’ve still got a lot of games to go. I’ve got a short-term goal and a long-term goal. The short-term goal is looking at what we can do for the next ten games. We’ll see where we are after that then look at what we do going forward.”

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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