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MANAGER: We have to keep challenging each other

Paul Simpson on getting back to the levels we know we can reach

28 October 2022

Club News

MANAGER: We have to keep challenging each other

Paul Simpson on getting back to the levels we know we can reach

28 October 2022

Having had such a good start to the season the easy thing to do at the first sighting of even the slightest hint of a tough spell would be to hit the panic button and rip up the playbook, but that’s far from the case here at Brunton Park with current manager Paul Simpson preferring more of a level-headed approach.

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That, indeed, is something he’s advocated from day one, often putting the brakes on if talk of ply-offs has popped into the conversation and, on the flip side, demanding a positive approach when results have gone the other way.

“I don’t think there’s any complacency around the place, but I do think it’s human nature, and this isn’t a slight on any one person or any group of people, but especially in our country we’re absolutely guilty of this, we all get really carried away when things start to go well,” he said.

“Maybe we don’t continue to do the things that got us there that causes the blip, but I’m not sure that it can be said that it’s complacency that brings it on.

“What we have to do is keep challenging each other and our ourselves to maintain standards. That’s what it’s all about.

“In footballing terms it’s maintaining standards off the grass in the way you live your life, the travelling you do, the food you’re eating, the drinks you have, the training and recovery, and then you have to bring all of that together to perform in the games.

“We’ve just gone away from some of them - not all of them - for whatever reason and we have to get back to it. It is a ‘we’ because it’s about us and what we do together.

“We’re all in it together, that’s the whole football club. We saw over a thousand fans on Tuesday so they’re with us as well.

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“I would expect it’ll be a good following again on Saturday but we have to make sure that we keep our standards high and do things right.

“In terms of standards for supporters, we have to make sure their behaviour is right so that we don’t get anything back on the football club. As a team we’ll get our preparations right and look to perform.”

And his insistence that players absent for whatever reason cannot and should not be used as an excuse puts the onus on those who are selected to go out and be at their best, whatever the end result.

“There are things I’ll do for games where if it works it’ll be really good, and things I’ll do when it doesn’t work where it’ll look like a poor decision,” he told us. “When it comes to hindsight, I can’t select the side after I’ve seen the performance, I can’t do it before I get the performance, and that’s why it’s always easy to say at the end of the game that I should have done this, that or the other.

“I have to make those decisions before, and whatever I do it’s for the right reasons. It’s like when I blamed myself for the preparation before the Barrow game, everything was done for the right reasons and, with the benefit of hindsight, it turned out that it was the wrong thing.

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“I picked the team on Tuesday for all of the right reasons and it didn’t work for us. I have to try to pick a team for Saturday that is right for us.

“That’s all I can concentrate on, I can’t get concerned with what isn’t available. Whether Hunts is available or not, I can’t get concerned over it. I’d like Ryan Edmondson, Omari Patrick, Ben Barclay, Jordan Gibson – all of these, I could keep going, but they’re not available so why worry about it.

“Let’s just get on with it, let’s deal with it, and whoever gets selected they’re in this group and going to Tranmere because they are a Carlisle United player and I want them to perform to the levels we know they can reach.”

Still sat nicely poised in the table, it’s natural that the mindset can be affected after a run that has seen wins harder to come by.

“Unfortunately, because of what’s gone on over recent years, when things are going well we all enjoy it so much more,” he explained. “Look, I’ve enjoyed it.

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“It makes my Saturdays and Tuesdays much better when we win. It makes it tough if we don’t, and that’s why we have to try to keep a level-headed calmness about us.

“On Tuesday I didn’t rant and rave after the game, I didn’t go mad at the players, because I didn’t see that it was the necessary thing to do.

“I have done it on occasion in the past, I’ve had a go at them, but there has to be a good reason. I did it on Saturday at half-time and probably a couple of individuals got it more than others.

“It wasn’t the time for that at Stockport. Firstly I thought they were much better than we were on the night, it’s as simple as that, and I didn’t think we’d done enough.

“There’s no point ranting when that’s the case, it was more about trying to be constructive so that it doesn’t happen again.

“We’ve done that again today. We’ve challenged them to get back to being the best they can be because I don’t think they got anywhere near that on Tuesday.”

On the recipe in use to help that to happen, he said: “The biggest thing is doing the simple things well.

“That’s what we’ve talked about today – getting the basics right. Starting games properly, working harder than the opposition. And passing the ball. It’s really simple.

“The game plan for the whole of this season has been no-risk. Outwork the opposition. Think forward, run forward, play forward. I think it’s fair to say on Tuesday we didn’t do those right.

“Saturday second half against Orient we did, Doncaster we certainly did, we just have to get back to doing those basics properly. There’s no easy fix to it. It’s just about everybody getting back to doing things properly.”


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