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MANAGER: We have to react

Paul Simpson on taking the positives from Tuesday

18 March 2022

The Blues ended the game in the ascendency on Tuesday night, but it wasn’t quite enough as Paul Simpson suffered his first defeat since taking over at the end of February.

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“When you’ve had a bad result you have to make sure you don’t have two consecutive ones, that’s all we can say,” he said. “We can’t physically do or say anything to the players to stop that from happening, they just have to perform.

“If they can do that between now and the end of the season, we’ll be ok. Barrow is the first one, so let’s hope it’s the game where we get back to winning ways.

“That’s got to be our aim. We have to do everything we can to be looking upwards instead of downwards. The only way you do that is by winning games.

“If we can go and grab hold of the shirt-tails of the teams in the top half of the table that’ll be brilliant for us and will give everyone a lift. We’re now in a slightly different situation to when I came in.

“We were actually chasing everybody, now we’re being chased. It’s a different type of mentality and we’ve got to be able to deal with that as well as possible.”

“The players have been fine in training,” he continued. “Disappointment is part of football, isn’t it. We’re going to lose games along the way.

“The important thing to come out of Tuesday is that I thought the way we finished the second half was good. I think if we’d got 90 minutes of what we saw in the first half we’d all have been really disappointed.

Match Previews


18 March 2022

“In the end we had positives to take and we also have to remember that Newport are a good side. They’ve been consistent, and they are where they are because of that, but it doesn’t take away the fact that four wins from four prior to Tuesday is a huge achievement.

“What we want now is to start again and get on another run of results that gets us to where we want to be.”

“I think the players have shown a bit of personality about the way they ended the game,” he told us. “We were able to adapt and change and it was good to see that we could.

“I kept testing them after the break, and that wasn’t on purpose, it was just that I was desperate to try and get a result. We changed the shape once, then we changed it again, just to see if we could make an impact.

“We were close to getting something in the end, but also we were quite a long way away from it. We had some opportunities, but they’ll say they did as well, and over the full game we have to hold our hands up and say it was probably the right result.

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“It’s gone now, it’s finished, and I did say to them that the good thing about football is that once you suffer a disappointment there’s a chance to put it right that comes along very quickly.

“It’s a local derby, a game everyone is looking forward to, so what a great way to do that if we can. If we can’t get up for a game like this then we’ve got serious problems. It’s a game where we can do ourselves a massive favour and give them a little kick up the backside as well.

“All of the work we’re doing - I always look at getting off to a good start in the season, and that’s the first ten games, and that’s when I would properly look at the league table for the first time.

“But, to be honest, everything you’re doing is for these last ten games. This is when it really matters, and this is where players have to earn their money and show what they’re about.

“This stage of the season is where the rewards are given out. We know we aren’t going to get a medal for anything, but our reward is to stay in the football league.

“That’s as big an achievement as we can expect at the moment.”

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With the squad having faced its first real knock since he took over, we wondered if this week had been approached differently in any way.

“I don’t have a set speech, I just say it as I see it,” he said. “The one thing we have to do is react, it’s as simple as that. We’ve got to have a reaction to Tuesday.

“We don’t throw everything out of the window because of what happened, we’ve had a lot of good things that have gone on, and even against Newport we finished the game really strongly.

“Not enough to think we did enough to win the game, Newport were a better team than us on the night, but enough to encourage us that the level of performance can be better than it was in the first half.

“We have to take that into Saturday and the games that follow. Like I keep saying we don’t have the points we need to stay up as things stand.

“Over recent seasons I think the average has been 43 points, but I think it will be more than that this year. I think over the past few years there was an anomaly with 34 points, but that certainty won’t be the case this year.

“I think it’s going to be a minimum of 46, maybe even 50. The truth is, I want to stay up, but I don’t want to just settle with staying up. If we can get enough points in the next two games to say we’re going to stay up, I still want us to finish as high as we can and see if we can get into the top half.

“If we do that then it won’t half make a better summer for everybody, and it might just give everybody a lift to take into next season, for whoever is going to be here.”

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