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MANAGER: They're huge at every level

Paul Simpson on the importance of set pieces

18 July 2022

Some things in football will never change, not least the importance of set pieces, and the impact they can have in both boxes when it comes to either scoring or conceding goals.

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United got both aspects of that particular requirement right last Saturday, with every Bolton delivery dealt with, and a first goal for Ben Barclay at the other end when the ball was kept alive after a teaser of a corner from Owen Moxon floated into the box.

“Set pieces are huge at every level,” manager Paul Simpson said. “I think there’s about 30%, maybe even more, of goals that are scored from set plays.

“If we can defend them really well, and attack them well, then we could get a 60% swing in games, and that’s a huge asset to have.

“We’ve now got players on the pitch who’ve got an excellent delivery, in Mox, Sonny, Cal and Dev, if he’s involved. We’ve also got people who are prepared to go and organise and get their heads on things.

“The organisation has been good, we’ve done a lot of sessions where it’s been a focus on set pieces, because we have to be better at them.

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“We need to better defending them and attacking them. There were still things that we saw where we need to iron bits out, where players are going and they’re given a job to do and they don’t do it, and it’s really important that we get that right.

“That’s the good thing about pre-season, we can get these little mistakes out of our system and hopefully the players will all learn from them.”

“As I said last season, Gav does the attacking set plays,” he continued. “We do have a little chat about it, but he does them all.

“The big thing for me, and I always say this, when you go up for a corner don’t just go up because your initials are on a set play sheet, you go because you want to score.

“Ben wants to score, and we’ve got more and more people who are like that in our squad now. There’s a desire to score and we’ll get goals if that’s the case.

“I’m quite sure we’re going to get the delivery right, and then it’s about getting our bodies in the right place to capitalise. That’s having a will to go and get on the end of things, so let’s see if we can keep that up.”

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