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MANAGER: Both teams will probably say they didn't do enough

More from Paul Simpson on the Saturday game

13 November 2022

Club News

MANAGER: Both teams will probably say they didn't do enough

More from Paul Simpson on the Saturday game

13 November 2022

United boss Paul Simpson was very pragmatic in his post-match assessment of the game on Saturday evening having watched his team slug it out with Walsall on an afternoon of few clear-cut chances.

Match Reports


12 November 2022

“I said to the players at half time that we’d got through the first half, we were still involved in it, even though that first 45 minutes was a bit of a non-event,” he told us. “Sometimes you have to get through the first bit to play the second bit, and that was mostly how it felt for us.

“If we could just have increased our tempo and stepped it up maybe 10 or 15%, I think we would have had enough to have got a result. Unfortunately it didn’t happen, but I do think they’re a good side.

“They’re a side that’s been put together to get results and I think they’re a real threat from set plays. I’ve got to say, I complained about how well we defended on Tuesday, but I thought we got to grips with their set pieces really well.

“We dealt with the long throws in the first half when Knowles was on, and we coped with the corners and free kicks as well. We stuck to our task and did that side of it really well, which meant that we handled their biggest threat.

“I don’t think Tomas had many saves to make, maybe one he helped over the bar, so that’s a bonus for us. It’s a point, we now move on to the next one.”

Looking for a spark, there were tweaks to the shape throughout the 90 minutes, with the feeling that the next gear was there to be engaged.

“We tried to change it in terms of our shape at half time, to start with, and I always felt it was going to be a day that was about energy and having a spark about us,” he explained. “Unfortunately we didn’t find the spark, but in the end we had enough out there to get us a point.

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13 November 2022

“Maybe if we’d found something a little bit extra we’d have got all three, so I’m not really down about it and I’m not as angry about it as I was on Tuesday. I just think it was one of those games where both teams will say they probably didn’t do enough to deserve the win.

“During the break we talked about how we were making a little bit of a change to how we wanted our front players to set up, because I hoped that would give us an edge.

“We’d been getting into some good areas, but we didn’t do enough to make it really count. The message I wanted to get across was that we were still in the game, so I wanted them to increase it a little bit.

“It turned out to be one of those days where we huffed and puffed but we didn’t quite get to the level of winning the game. It was so stop-start and a real non-event of a game for long periods.

“Obviously we had that really good chance just before half time. That came from a good passage of play. Taylor got into a great position and what I always say is that you have to work the goalkeeper.

“He got a lovely clean strike on it, he probably hit it harder than he needed to when it maybe needed a bit more care. That was one of the things we talked about before the game, and it’s something I wanted as an improvement.

“I want all of them to take more care of the ball, be that with a simple pass in midfield or in the final third, or with a cross or a finish. On that occasion we didn’t take the care that was needed to work the keeper. We have to accept that these things happen and unfortunately for Taylor it didn’t hit the target.”


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The hard-working approach from his team, and the defensive discipline, combined to leave him with a level-headed view of the outcome.

“You have to look at it this way,” he insisted. “I was frustrated on Tuesday night and the players knew that, and although I’m a little bit frustrated now, certainly not as much.

“I felt Tuesday was a real opportunity to get three points out of it, and again, I thought Harrogate played well, but there were chances for us if we’d done it properly.

“The Walsall game was very closely-fought, where we probably had the better chances, which I would definitely expect at home anyway. But we weren’t able to finish it and that’s probably the disappointment we take from it. 

“For whatever reason we lacked the extra spark. I don’t know the reasons for it, I’m not even going to try and come up with any. It just wasn’t there.

“That’s because they’re human beings, we’re talking about footballers who have had a tough run of games, where we’ve not been able to freshen it up. I thought there were some good performances, defensively we were very good.

“Tomas Holy took up some really positive start positions, our two midfielders got on the ball and had a bit more control than we did on Tuesday, it was just in that final third we didn’t produce the spark that we want to be able to create stuff, except for our set plays.”

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YOUTH: Salford

12 November 2022

“I think it was a game that was hard fought between two competitive teams,” he added. “It’s a point, but I’m not sure I’d put it as an excellent point, it’s maybe too early to say. If we go and win at Salford, that’s when it’ll be an excellent point.

“This was a day where both sides seemed to cancel each other out and there was no real flow to the game. When I’m thinking about it now, I’ve only seen a few little clips of our set plays, and I think we’ve got to score from at least one of the fantastic corner deliveries we had from Owen Moxon in the second half.

“We had a bit of half chance from the free kick late on, where three of our lads have missed the ball at the far post, and that was probably one where it needed to be a first contact then another header to score.

“I was hoping we’d have more of a threat but we did defend well as a team. The front three worked hard out of possession, the midfield covered a lot of ground, but I just think we needed to take a bit more care.

“We needed to think about what we were doing a little bit more when we got into the final third. We should have found the target more from our set plays, so I do think we probably had the better chances. It’s a point, we move on.

“The FA Cup draw means we do it again at the end of the month and both sets of staff will be able to go away and review what happened.

“We’ll be working out where we can be better for the next one, because it will come round very quickly, but for me we have to put it to bed and get ready for Salford next weekend. We’ll be looking for a result there because that will then make this a really good point.”

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