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MANAGER: I don't want losing to be acceptable

Paul Simpson on an intense week of training

26 August 2022

Club News

MANAGER: I don't want losing to be acceptable

Paul Simpson on an intense week of training

26 August 2022

Those who popped down to watch Tuesday morning’s training session will have left feeling more than impressed with the attitude shown by a group that was clearly determined to put the weekend performance behind them.

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Movement was sharp, passing was crisp, tackles flew in and there was an edge of seriousness to everything from the warm-up to the games that were played.

“It has to be that way, we’ve got to make demands on each other,” manager Paul Simpson said. “When I was younger as a coach I thought I could change people, I thought I could actually make a big difference.

“After a while you realise that you can only influence them if they want to be influenced. All we can do is set sessions up, give them what the rules and restrictions might be, and tell them what we expect of them.

“It’s then up to the players to implement and to conduct themselves in the right way, and that’s not me passing the buck.

“I’m totally aware that the responsibility is on me, I’m the one to be looked at if things aren’t going well, and I accept that.

“I just want the players to get a level of consistency in the way they perform, which is what I said to them on Tuesday morning.

“I also reminded them that if they train properly from Monday through to Friday then Saturday takes care of itself, because it becomes an easier day.

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“I look at last weekend and that’s a prime example. All of our running stats were down on the other games we’ve had this season.

“We flushed the game through, we reviewed it and talked about it, and when I showed them the running stats there wasn’t much they could say.

“We talked about first contacts and I showed them the opening goal where we lost too many opportunities to get there first, and we didn’t win any of the second balls. That goal comes from that.

“These are really basic things, it’s not about tactics or whether or not you’re in a World Cup final game or a Sunday League game, if you don’t do those basics right you’re not going to win games.

“This group wants to be successful, so the demands of what we expect of them to achieve that are being placed on them. Training this week has been a reflection of that.”

And he revealed that added incentives within the sessions have added spice to the mix.

“We’re now starting to add things in where if you lose one of the games in the session, there’s a forfeit,” he explained. “I don’t want losing to be acceptable, or where there’s a mentality that it doesn’t matter.

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“It really does matter, it matters to everybody. Winning is the mentality we have to have in every area of the club.

“The forfeits are things that everybody would rather not do. It also creates a bit of banter. We had one team today [Thursday] who had to do 10 press-ups every time they lost, and unfortunately for them I think they lost four or five times.

“One of the comments from them was to ask if they didn’t have to do the upper body gym session in the afternoon, because they’d done it all on the training pitch, but we weren’t having any of that.

“There has to be a real aversion to losing. It creates a little bit of a competitive edge and you must have a winning mentality in everything you do.

“I’m not saying we’re going to win all the time because I don’t think we’re in a position where we’re ready to do that.

“As a group I think we’re still a little way away from doing that. We’re all going to have to accept that somewhere down the line we will lose, but I want them to want to win. It has to be our start point. We didn’t get it for 35 minutes last Saturday, and that’s why I want to see a reaction.”

It stands to reason that when there is a blip, people like us are going to ask why.

“The simple thing is that we’re human beings,” he responded. “That’s the top and bottom of it. Everybody reacts in a different way and people respond to adversity in different ways.

“It wasn’t just one individual, it happened as a group, and we saw that we didn’t react properly to the start of the game. It literally was from the start of the game.

“We lost the first contact from the kick-off, we didn’t clear the ball properly from a throw that came down the line, they picked up second balls and we allowed ourselves to do a lot of things wrong, one after the other.

“That’s what we have to be better at. There is no explanation for it, I wish I had the answer. If I did I’d probably be a really wealthy person. The only thing I know that we have to do is get them back into it, work at the basics and, if we do that, we know we’ve got half a chance.”

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

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