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MANAGER: It was a good group performance

More from Paul Simpson on the Crewe game

30 December 2022

Club News

MANAGER: It was a good group performance

More from Paul Simpson on the Crewe game

30 December 2022

United were both ruthless and clinical on Thursday night as they put Crewe to the sword on their own turf with a performance that was full of energy and quality.

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Three good goals capped things off nicely in front of 820 noisy and appreciative travelling fans and manager Paul Simpson was clearly extremely pleased with what he’d seen when he came out to talk to the press after the final whistle.

“We know Crewe have had a few problems of late and the important thing is that you don’t give them a leg up when you come to play them,” he told us.

“You don’t let them get going at any point and the way we went about it at the start of each half was perfect for us. I couldn’t have asked for any more.

“I thought we were energetic and I asked the players before the game to be aggressive, but with control within that aggression. I wanted them to do it with discipline, and I thought we got all of that.

“The only thing I can complain about is the injuries, which is the story of our season at the moment. It’s a big, big win and to come here and make the most of the problems they’ve got is really pleasing. I thought the players showed a real desire, right through the whole group.”

The style of play and the relentless approach brought good goals at key times, further making life difficult for the hosts.

“We were a little bit more clinical than we were on Monday, and the goals we scored were really good,” he said. “That one from Kris Dennis, wow.

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“It was a great turn of pace and he’s given me a bit of stick in there about his pace, and what an emphatic finish it was from him as well. There are so many good things and I’m really pleased that we scored from a set play again.

“With the Moxon and Feeney goals, we’ve said all along that if we can’t win the first contact, or if we don’t score from it, make sure we keep the ball alive.

“To be honest, in our pre-match meeting we showed the video clips and highlighted that Crewe have been vulnerable from set pieces.

“They do have some big lads in there who can win the first contact and a keeper who comes, but if you keep it alive the second contact becomes really important. We had good delivery again from set plays and we had people in the right areas, and we managed to stick another one away.

“It would have been wonderful if Dev’s shot had bounced the other side of the line but I can’t really grumble. It’s been a big performance that keeps us moving on. That’s it, we’re half way – let’s see if we can keep it going for 23 more.”

A second clean sheet of the week was also deserving of praise.

“I don’t think it did feel like we were going to concede,” he agreed. “They had the shot with the ironic cheer really early on, but it was one of those again where we knew that with the way Crewe want to play, they like to build and use possession of the ball.

“I was comfortable with that again. Agyei caused a few problems wide on the left, with his pace and direct play, but we dealt with everything they threw at us.

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“We’ve done our bit, we’ve done things right against Crewe and Bradford, so let’s now do the same at Doncaster.”

Key to the victory was that ruthless streak alluded to earlier.

“We have to be ruthless when we’re going up against teams who are struggling,” he said. “You can do that by keeping the ball, which we did for long periods, or by closing down quickly when they have possession.

“That takes the wind out of their sails if you’re doing it consistently. At the end of the game, we had Callum Guy sprinting across to shut Agyei down before he could deliver. These things matter.

“I know they were demoralised at three down and with one sent off, but you have to keep hammering away. Think back to last season, nobody felt sorry for us when we were having a tough time.

“That’s why you have to come to places like this and get after them. It was a proper team performance.

“I loved the forward play and controlled possession, but the clean sheet is the biggest thing for me. That’s so important. I think Orient are on 14, Stevenage are on 10 or 12, as are Northampton, and that’s our ninth. We’ve got to keep showing the desire to keep the ball out of our net.

“The more clean sheets we get the more likely it is we’ll see some success at some stage in the future.”

His final comment was for the fans.

“They were absolutely fantastic. There’s no surprise to me because they’ve been magnificent since I came here.

“They’ve backed us everywhere and when you come out of the tunnel and see that wall of people and sound, it’s unbelievable.

“That’s why I took the players over there to make sure they showed their appreciation, because it’s some going to get that following on a freezing cold night.

“It’s brilliant, I’m delighted that we gave them a performance and I’m sure it’ll be a pleasant journey home for them.

“Our players have a real affinity with the supporters and what they have to do is keeping winning. That affinity then gets stronger - and who knows where it will take them.

“So let’s make this a run now. We’ve got two wins, now we have to try to make it three. That’s what successful teams do, they go on long runs because it makes such a huge difference to your league position.”


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