MANAGER: It’s about being effective in the right areas

The manager’s post-match review of the Boxing Day game confirmed exactly what he’d been thinking as he watched the game unfold from the sidelines, with his team having put in a very good display to get the points.

“It’s probably the one game so far where I didn’t really need to review it to confirm what I felt about it on the day,” he said.

“I knew we’d done well, I knew we’d created some really good chances but, and I know I’m repeating this, if we’re looking to improve then we need to start being more clinical with those chances.

“It shouldn’t have been a nervy one-goal win, we should have made it so that it was a little bit more comfortable. There’s our learning point, but overall it was a really big three points which made for a good Boxing Day in front of a big crowd.”

There’s no doubt that the team is looking a real threat when attacking this season.

“We’re a threat and there’s an expectancy that we will score, but I honestly believe that we haven’t scored as many as we should,” he insisted.

“I’m pleased with where we are, and with the goals we’ve scored, but I really do feel we could be a bit better.

“Some of the passages of play where we passed out, then switched it, it gave us good overloads out wide, but then the balls into the box either just weren’t quite right or we didn’t put them away.

“I look at set plays where the deliveries are good and we’re winning first contact, then it’s bobbling around and we aren’t quite making the best of the second ball.

“If we can be just a little bit more clinical, or show more nouse in that goalmouth area, we’ll score even more.

“I want us to be sitting there and we’re two or three goals up and then, when someone like Andy Cook gets a chance, I’m not thinking oh, please, miss it, don’t equalise. If the other team does score let it be a consolation rather than something that takes away from a good performance from us.”

It’s just a few months ago that we were looking at a squad that had equalled a horrible club record – with a total of 39 league strikes the joint worst in the club’s football league history.

“We’re at 33 now so the level of return is much nearer to where it needs to be,” he agreed. “A little bit of that comes from winning games of football because you get a positive mentality from that.

“If you’re finding a way to get results it lifts everybody, and goals tend to come with it. The mentality the players have is that they’ve earned the right to feel positive because of the way they’ve gone about things.

“I’ve just tried to set them up with a front-foot mentality from the first time we got together this season. I want them to be pressing and trying to win the ball as high up the pitch as possible, not dropping off and sinking into a low block, which only allows the other team to get their men forward.

“I don’t mind if a team has possession in their own half, that’s not hurting us, as we found against Bradford. They dominated the possession stats, but I’m fine with that, because Tomas didn’t have a single save to make. It’s about being effective in the right areas.”

And the scoring of goals combined with the very low number of defeats are just two of the reasons why the team currently finds itself on the brink of the play-off places.

“It’s clean sheets, it’s being hard to beat, it’s keeping the standards high,” the manager said. “I’m a big believer in making sure you keep the back door shut at the same time as being as positive as you can be.

“We’re doing ok in terms of clean sheets, but I still want more. If you want to be successful you’ve got to be looking at 17 or 18 across the season, so we still have work to do on that as well. We’re alright, we’re not doing bad, so let’s make sure after 23 games that we’re still in a nice place.”

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