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MANAGER: I always felt it was there

More from Paul Simpson on the Saturday victory

9 October 2022

Manager Paul Simpson had plenty to be pleased about on Saturday afternoon as he watched his side employ a ruthless streak through the second half as they brushed off the disappointment of a first half goal conceded to dominate and comfortably win the game.

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“I’ve got to be honest, I was really happy with the first half, that’s the daft thing about it,” he told us shortly after the final whistle had gone.

“I thought we played really well, probably as well as we have done for a good few weeks. I said to them during the break that they needed to keep believing in the things they were doing and they would get more chances.

“We knew we had the legs to be able to keep going and the ability is something we know we’ve got. I asked them to be a little bit calmer in the final third to see if we could execute the finish on our chances a little bit better.

“That’s certainly what we did and it’s a brilliant win for us. One of the things I said to the players was that I wanted them to start getting a picture of celebrating in front of our fans at the end of the game.

“It was set up for it for us to go and score the goals right in front of them. From there they could go and applaud them, so this is a huge win for us.”

Speaking more about the supporters, who were by far the louder on the day, he said: “They’ve had a right good day, and we have as well.

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“We’ve all had a good day together and that journey home, whether it’s the A69 or A66, it’ll make it much better for them. It’s a big win, a really big win.

“They were on a little bit of a roll with the results they’ve had since Keith [Curle] came in, but I thought from start to finish we dominated in terms of football. We looked strong physically even though they were a threat from set pieces.

“Credit to Ferguson he’s got a great delivery, and they’re clever with their set plays. That’s one thing we were expecting from them so thankfully we’ve put in a big performance to set ourselves up for next week at home now.”

Always mindful of learning lessons from goals conceded, we wondered if there was frustration at having seen a similar free kick drop into the box just five minutes before the goal was scored.

“I’m not sure about it being frustrating because we were trying to deal with it,” he insisted. “We’ve been done a couple of times now on set pieces – the second phase of them – and that was the same in this game.

“I haven’t seen it back, I don’t really know what happened other than the ball was bobbling around and the lad smashed it in. There was a lot of good stuff from us, there really was, and I thought other than that goal we defended the set pieces well. Overall the way we defended as a team was outstanding.

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“I also wasn’t too worried about the chances we’d missed. I kept believing that we were going to create more.

“Even when we had to make changes I wanted to be positive with it all. That’s why I put Edmo on as a wide right player, and I asked Jordan to play as a wing back. I really felt the game was there for us and that we could go on and win it.

“I’ve been frustrated with the amount of draws we’ve had and that’s why I wanted us to keep pushing forward. Thankfully it worked for us. Some days it doesn’t, but it did on this occasion.”

The second period was most notable for the increase in tempo from the visitors, with another gear found easily as they went on to boss the game.

“All I told them before they came back out was that they needed to keep believing and keep doing what they’d been doing,” he told us. “We weren’t far off it in the first half, we’d had some really good moments and created some great chances.


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“We had good deliveries from Mox from set pieces and Jordan Gibson got into some really good areas. We just couldn’t quite find the finish, it was bobbling away or scuffed.

“It was a difficult surface to play on because the grass was longer and it was dry, but I thought the players stuck to it well and we started to show more control as the game went on.

“We showed more composure than we did against Crewe and it shows that when you do things properly you get the rewards.”

“Having said that, I wouldn’t say we were unfortunate to go in 1-0 down because they deserved the goal,” he said. “The final thing I said before they came back out was to start getting a picture in your mind of what it’s going to feel and look like if you do end up winning the game in front of your own supporters.

“I think we enjoyed the celebrations, I’m sure the supporters had an absolutely brilliant day out. The players have earned that, the supporters have earned it making the journey across.

“It looked to me, apart from a few people coming on when we scored, that they behaved themselves really well, which is brilliant. We need them to be right, to be proper supporters, proper people, and I think they were.

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“The noise they made was incredible. One of the things I said was we have to silence their crowd and make sure ours are noisy. I think it’s fair to say the players did that. 

“And good support makes such a difference. When I came into the club everybody told me it was a horrible atmosphere, things weren’t going well. But since I’ve come in it’s been absolutely fantastic.

“That’s not because of me, it’s the supporters making a choice to stay with us and to do their bit. Long may that continue.”

The three points took the Blues into the top seven places, a clear indication that the team has gone from being on the brink of having a good start to actually having a good start.

“It means we’ve had a decent start,” the Carlisle boss countered. “It doesn’t mean anything other than that at the moment. You only judge that after 46.

“I’ve got to say, it’s not where I expected us to be, that’s me being really honest, but the players have been absolutely fantastic. Long may that continue.

“I actually challenged the players before the game. I’m told this was where the wheels fell off for them last season and they went on a shocking run.

“I just said, make sure it doesn’t happen again, that you keep going, and they’ve gone and performed, done a job, and they are shattered, as they should be. It’s a big, big win.

“And of course it’s good to be on a run of eight unbeaten. It’s good in any league, but to do it at this level, where it’s a bit unpredictable, is really good. We’ve just got to keep going.

“The big thing I’m saying is don’t get carried away with it. I’m not going to get carried away when we lose games. We’ll review it, we’ll try and be better next time.

“The most pleasing thing from this win was that it was for the fans. When the lads came in after the warm-up they talked about how it was a brilliant atmosphere.

“You have to make sure you enjoy that because our fans created it. It doesn’t mean expectations shift. We have our expectations and talk about what we can achieve inside the club, inside our rooms.

“We’re never going to come out and start spouting off about them and making rash predictions. We have to just keep really level-headed, because football’s got a horrible knack of tripping you up when you get carried away.

“We’ve just got to stay focused, nice and calm, and make sure we deal with the next game properly.”

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