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MANAGER: It's how they go about it that matters

Paul Simpson on selection problems

19 August 2022


MANAGER: It's how they go about it that matters

Paul Simpson on selection problems

19 August 2022

United’s injury woes bring with them selection problems of a more difficult kind, with boss Paul Simpson very honest on Tuesday night about his assessment of a Grimsby style of play that was focused on set piece deliveries and aerial threat.

“We saw at Grimsby during the 20 or so minutes we played that it was going to be a battle for us,” he commented. “It was a real concern on Tuesday, and it’s a concern going into this weekend again.

“Stevenage a big side and they’re decent with set plays, and they like to go direct up to the striker. They play for corners, free kicks and throw-ins and we’re going to have to roll our sleeves up and compete.

“A lot of the things we’ve done in training today [Thursday] have been about competing and being strong in our aerial battles.

“The players are committed and they know they’re going to have to fight and defend with their lives at times. It’s how we do it on the day that matters.”

“The pleasing thing about Tuesday is that we did create some really good chances,” he added. “We were under the cosh a little bit but we did have some great opportunities.

“We had a bit of an overload down the left-hand side, and with a bit more care we could have been in behind.We saw Kristian Dennis roll one for Gibbo to strike, and his shot should probably have been a little bit wider.

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“Jordan had another chance that went just wide on the volley, and it’s been a theme this season. We have created a lot of openings and the one thing I keep saying to the lads is that they need to keep creating them.

“They don’t need to get down about not scoring them at this stage of the season, but they do need to keep making them. If they do that, they will start to be more clinical, because they’re working on improving that all the time.”

The number of chances created has been a direct product of the style of play adopted, with players slotting in and carrying the baton in every game.

“We can ask the players to do it, but they have to actually go out there and do it,” he said. “It’s how they go about it that matters.

“They trust the shape, they trust what we’re asking them to do, and they’re going out and doing it at the moment.

“The one thing I’ve talked about all season is being safe behind the ball, so that we get lots and lots of transitions, and we need to be better at keeping everything secure.

“We want to be alert and we don’t want to allow too many transitions against us, and I thought we did that ok on Tuesday night. It was more about dealing with the height as the set plays came in, and it’ll be the same on Saturday.”

“Dev got his first start and he didn’t look out of place at all,” he continued. “He looks as if he could slot in, and Sonny has been the same with the opportunities we’ve given him.

“Omari has come in and he’s still working his way back to full fitness, and he looks a threat. That’s the good thing about having a pre-season where you do your hard work.

“It was the same today, we were able to do our work and it means the players can get a real understanding of what the team ethos is.

“We know we will hit bumps along the way, but if we try to be as consistent as we can be in everything we do and in our levels of performance, hopefully that will help us to get the results we want.”

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