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MANAGER: You have to be able to adjust and adapt

Paul Simpson on discipline within the shape

3 August 2022

At the forefront of the opening day victory on Saturday was the discipline shown by the Blues as they worked as a unit throughout the 90 minutes, from back to front.

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Explaining the thought process afterwards, manager Paul Simpson said: “We had a way we wanted to play but we had to have a little tweak.

“I’ve got this thing about the fact you must have a shape to play from, but you have to be able to tweak it and adjust as it’s needed.

“We changed it slightly and went with two in midfield, with Gibbo a little bit higher. We had to change it back again during the game, but they were the ones changing to try to make an impact with the way we were stopping them from doing what they had come to do.

They started with a back three and they went to a back four after half-time. They kept shuffling the midfield, so for me you have to have players who can do that.

“Credit to the lads, they’ve shown us they can.”

Within that aforementioned discipline is a clear licence to play, as and when the situation allows.

“I do want us to test ourselves but I don’t want them taking risks in our own defensive third,” he explained.

“I want to try and eliminate that as much as we possibly can. It’s a ‘no risk first policy’, but then it’s more about thinking about whether or not we can play when we get a little higher up the pitch.

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“Once they get into that final third I always say that, as a coach, I can’t coach somebody to beat a player round the edge of the box. That’s from within themselves.

“You can’t coach somebody who is a goalscorer to get into the right area, they have to be able to do it.

“All you can do is a repetition of exercises in training so they keep getting used to it, and get them into the habit of hitting the back of the net.

“What we have to do now is try to transfer that habit from the training ground onto the pitch on a match day so that we see more goals.”

And an important cog in the wheel is the role of the wing back, on both sides of the pitch.

“I think Jack Armer has been excellent for the last couple of games,” he said. “His play is really starting to show that he can open his legs and get past people.

“He’s getting back to defend as well, which is part of the job of a wing back. They should cover more ground than anybody else, because they have to, and he’s showing me that he can do it.

“I’d still like him to get in at the far post more. If he’d got in a little bit higher and narrower he’d have probably had a finish from about six yards out on Saturday.

“I’m questioning, is he going to score goals. I want him to, and I want Fin Back to do it as well. We can’t rely on Denno and Edmo, Omari and young Nic Bollado, we need goals from everywhere.

“We can’t just rely on strikers, they need to be from all over the team.”

“We should have scored from a set-play on Saturday,” he continued. “Morgan, Jon Mellish, they should have scored.

“Ryan Edmondson should have had a better contact when he backheeled it, and all of those things, and this is me being picky, but we have to demand better if we want to be further up the table.”

Looking to the right-hand side, he told us: “Fin is a talented boy. He has a calm head on his shoulders and I’ve been really pleased with him so far.

“He has a great attitude to his work and to football. He understands what it’s like to be in a professional sport environment, so hopefully he’ll get even better.

“I do think he could be a really good signing for us. He’s got a little bit of experience at Championship level, which is no mean feat for a youngster, he’s got a really good personality, he’s enjoying living up here, he’s thrown himself into it which is what I want every one of our players to do.

“This has been a little bit of a test for him, it’s the first game, you know you’re always a little bit on edge, but he’s come through with flying colours, especially after a little bit of a shaky start.

“He’s just got to keep working, doing the things he’s doing, which I’m quite sure he will, and hopefully we’ll benefit as the season goes on.”


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