MANAGER: We got what we deserved

United just didn’t get going on Tuesday night and, although only one goal behind, it felt like they’d left themselves a mountain to climb as they went into the half-time break.

“We certainly didn’t start the game very well,” manager Paul Simpson agreed. “We started a little bit too negative and there were too many times where we could have stepped onto things, but we chose to take a step backwards.

“I wouldn’t say they outpassed us, but they did things crisper and they were the better team. They will go on to be one of the best teams in this league because they have the squad to do it.

“The first goal has come from us having a throw inside our own half on the far side and we give the ball away too cheaply.

“We’ve locked onto Madden and instead of staying locked on and stopping him from playing the pass easily, we drop off, let him have it and Hippolyte makes a good run and it’s a tidy finish.

“We had to change it because it just wasn’t working and I think tonight it just showed that when we’ve got these injuries we are a little bit short of numbers.

“I know injuries are part and parcel of it and we have to deal with it, but we’ve just got far too many at the moment, along with the suspension. We looked a little bit lost.

“I thought when Jack Stretton came on in the second half we had some moments where we passed the ball better and looked more dangerous, and we got some decent opportunities. They didn’t fall for us and we weren’t able to get anything out of it. The truth is that we didn’t deserve anything.”

The first goal came from nowhere, with a pass over the top and a sharp run turning attack from defence for the home side.

“If you give the ball away cheaply then you’re going to be out of shape,” he commented. “We’ve got players going over wanting to get it and they’re losing a bit of discipline about it, and that’s how they break on us.

“With the second goal, we’ve got everybody over on the far side and we try a backheel in the corner instead of just retaining the ball. It was on to roll it back to Jack Armer, that would have kept us with the ball, and we could maybe get a cross in.

“Instead we give it away and they’ve got runners coming off us. The thing they’ve done better than us is that they pressed much better than we did in the first half – I thought we were ok with that in the second half – they just ran a bit harder than we did.

“They haven’t had to do anything really clever, but they’ve done us. The second goal was a fantastic header, a great ball in, but overall we didn’t do enough to get anything out of it.”

The real disappointment came from having been robbed of at least a point on Saturday, the players went into the midweek encounter determined to put that right.

“There’s a difference in talking about being up for it and going out there and doing it,” the gaffer insisted. “They can look up for it and tell us they are, but unfortunately we didn’t start the game looking that way and that gave Stockport a bit of a lift.

“When you come to places like this, we’ve had fantastic support, but they’ve got good numbers backing them. They make a lot of noise from behind that goal and you have to try to silence them.

“We didn’t do that, and the shape we set up with didn’t stop them from playing in the way I wanted it to. It allowed them to get a little bit of momentum, and I thought we were a little bit better when we changed it.

“Sadly we’re just in a little bit of a rut at the moment and we’ve got to dig deep and get ourselves out of it. We’ve got to keep each other right, keep together and get ourselves through this.

“We haven’t become a bad side overnight, but we probably weren’t as good a side as everybody started talking about just because we’d had a good start to the season.

“We’ve got to keep working hard, keep building and making sure we keep improving. It’s a sticky situation we have to dig ourselves out of.”

“We tried to help the players to dig themselves out of it during the game,” he added. “I’ve said before that sometimes you make changes and they work, but sometimes they don’t.

“I thought the change at half time gave us a spark, and that’s not me being disrespectful to Jayden. Jack and Gibbo playing the wider roles had a bit more of an understanding of it.

“The spark wasn’t there for whatever reason and we’ve got to find it again. We’ve just got to get ourselves back to basics, get back to work and find it. It’ll come back; these players have got a mentality about them that will get it back.”

Read Time: 5 mins