MANAGER: Giving ourselves a great opportunity

United are currently the division’s draw specialists, with nine from their 20 league outings so far after Saturday’s 1-1 stalemate with Sutton added to the tally, and their reputation as being a team that is very hard to beat also remains intact, with just the three League Two reverses blotting the copy book.

And it’s perhaps a reflection of how far the club has come over the past six months that there’s so much disappointment around when, on occasions like this, things fall just a little bit flat.

“I do think Saturday was a missed opportunity and I don’t think it’s being disrespectful to Sutton to say that,” manager Paul Simpson said.

“If we want to be up in these top places we have to win our home games, especially against a team who don’t win away from home. We have to do that properly.

“It was just one of those games which was really bitty, stop-starting, never any real flow to it. In the first half when we got the ball down on the grass and passed it, we looked a good side, we got into wide areas, got runners going behind them.

“We just didn’t have that quality in the final third. As I said earlier, I think everybody has forgotten that we are very early into a bit of a rebuild here, and that’s as a whole football club.

“That’s not just as a team, it’s the whole club. I really do think everybody turned up expecting it to be a foregone conclusion that we would get a result. When that happens you tend to get caught out.

“I thought the players were nervy, and I certainly thought the crowd were nervy. There were times when they were moaning and groaning and there were sarcastic comments coming when mistakes were made.

“Let me tell you that none of these players ever go out there to deliberately make mistakes. They all go out there wanting to do it properly, but sometimes it doesn’t happen for them.

“We’ve only lost three games and a lot of times it has happened for us, so we have to calm down, keep our heads and keep going together.

“I said when I first came back in February that if we all stick together we’ve got a chance. I’m not sure we all stuck together as well as we have been.”

With the club now fifth after 20 games, he commented: “We’re giving ourselves a huge opportunity and we have to make sure we keep moving forward.

“We’re coming up to January, we’ll have a look at the picture and work out what other clubs want to do with their own players from our loans, and we’ll see where we go from there.

“But we do have an opportunity and it will be really disappointing if we let it go. As a whole club we have to keep moving forward and improving, and hopefully we can make it a good second half of the season.”

The disappointment of being knocked out of the FA Cup was a shadow that had to be put to bed.

“I just wonder whether or not there was a bit of a hangover from that coming into Saturday in terms of the nervousness from the crowd,” he told us.

“We have to get it out of our system. To be fifth at this stage, that’s not bad going. I’d have taken that last February when I came in, if somebody had offered me that.

“Let’s not get silly, let’s just stick together, stay with it, and hopefully we can keep moving on. That’s the same message for the players as well.

“You just need a bit of bravery on the ball. You’ve got to get players who are prepared to do it. We turned it over far too easily on Saturday and it became an easy option just to hook it on.

“They have a style of play which is really difficult to play against, and unfortunately we resorted a little bit to that style, the way we kept tossing it away and making it a scrap. We just needed more control about it, which we’ll look to get back to.”

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