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MANAGER: Probably the first time I've said something like this

More from Paul Simpson on the Exeter defeat

10 April 2022

It most definitely wasn’t our day but, despite that, it took high-flying Exeter until the 89th minute to take the points from a game that ultimately brought a real sense of frustration for the Blues.

Club News

MANAGER: It was a poor performance from us

10 April 2022

“I suppose it’s frustrating that we were in it to a point where you think you’re going to get something,” manager Paul Simpson said. “If you can have a goalkeeper making saves, having blocks made, also riding your luck when there’s poor finishing going on, you’re still in the game.

“At 0-0 we had a chance, and that would have been a good result considering how poor we were. The biggest disappointment is then you have individual jobs to do, everybody knows what their jobs are from set plays.

“When it’s in general play, there’s grey areas because a game changes and you have people moving, the ball’s moving around. From a set play we knew what our jobs were. Unfortunately we didn’t do our jobs. 

“It’s down to watching the ball and not being aware of your man. The guy Padraig Amond who came on, he’s a six-yard box goalscorer. I’ve only just watched it back once, but he makes a run towards the near post.

“Again, we did the preparation, there’s a guy stands towards the goalkeeper, he runs towards the near post, but then he makes a second movement and comes back in, ran to the near post, made a second movement and gets a little tap in from a yard out.

“I think it was too easy for the first header without any real challenge, and then he’s got a free header to be able to score. It’s just doing your jobs, it really is as simple as that.”

And on the lack of goalmouth action, he told us: “We had a few moments, and we had a free-kick at the end, but at no point am I thinking wow, he looks like he wants to score today.

“There was just that lethargy about us, a lack of real fire in our belly, which I think you have to have whatever level of football and sport. We didn’t have it.

Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Exeter

9 April 2022

“This is probably the first time I’m saying things like this, I just hope this isn’t the character. I hope the character I’ve seen before is the proper character, but the only way we’ll know that is if we see what comes over the next five games.

“I’ll be watching it back and I hope I can take some positive from it because I don’t really want to sit and watch a game back and have absolutely no positives.

“But it feels like there isn’t much in terms of our forward play. There are times where I come away thinking we were fairly average but it turns out we were a little bit better, so we’ll see.

“It’s not a case of brushing it away and forgetting about it, because we always have to try and improve. I’ll look at everything.

“I’ll think about how we prepared the players, how we showed the analysis of Exeter. One of the things we talked about was a real big thing. Thursday we put a loop on the TV in the players’ lounge of them from set-plays.

“Their three goals in the last two games have come from them, so we knew they were going to be a threat. We’ve shown them it, we’ve got a board with exactly what they do, who their threats are, what their moves are going to be.

“We worked on it in training on Thursday, but you have to then do it during the game. Unfortunately we didn’t do that part of it.”

Changes were made during the break with the manager looking to take the game to the opposition.

“I felt as though we needed more physicality up against their centre backs,” he explained. “Sweeney, Stubbs and Hartridge were having a really easy game and I needed to do something to try and change the face of that.

Club News

GALLERY: Exeter

10 April 2022

“I went with Tobi up there just to see if we could get somebody chasing about with a little bit more energy. It actually didn’t change much, really, and that’s not me being disrespectful to Tobi, or to Denno in all fairness.

“It just didn’t happen for us anywhere across the pitch. We weren’t able to find simple passes and we didn’t get hold of the first ball to give us something to build from.

“Because of that we weren’t able to get ourselves so that we could get out wide, and that’s down to so many things that weren’t good. It’s going to be a difficult one to go and analyse.

“We can always think about selection, and the truth is all of the players are always in my thoughts, I consider them every week. It’s not a case that they’re out of consideration, and that I’ll only select from this 18 or 19.

“It’s a case of just getting the right blend. I left Jack Armer out because he looked as if he needed a break, and he just looked as if he’d gone a little bit low on confidence. Mitch Roberts has been training really well, so that’s where that change came from.

“Brennan Dickenson was feeling his hamstring a little bit and we were considering a change anyway. Gime is one of those who can go on and cause problems, and he maybe isn’t brilliant out of possession but he’s a threat when you have the ball.

“There are players on the fringes who are always in my thoughts, it’s just a case of getting the right group and system with the players who we think will get us the results.

“We definitely still need another result, it’s that 50 points that’s the magic mark in any season. I want to get there are quickly as possible and see if we can keep going.”

Having mentioned Brennan’s hamstring, he added: “We’ll have to be conscious of it now, there was no indication before the game that he was tight.

“We were considering changing it anyway, we changed it at half time just to give us something different, because it wasn’t happening. Then I was considering changing Brennan, then I saw him stretching his hamstring, and we can’t afford to be losing anybody with hamstring strains.

“He’s just come back from an injury and we need him right, so we made the change. He just said it was a little bit tight, I’m hoping it was nothing, just a little bit of tiredness, and we make sure we get him ready.

“But we’ve got Jack Armer who wants to come back into it, and other players who want to be involved, but ideally I want him fit.

“I want to be able to select from the full group and see where we go next week.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Paul Simpson on iFollow United now.

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