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Club News

MANAGER: I have no problem with it

Paul Simpson on the format of the EFL Trophy

1 September 2022

Club News

MANAGER: I have no problem with it

Paul Simpson on the format of the EFL Trophy

1 September 2022

The introduction of ‘invited teams’ to the Football League Trophy competition [currently the Papa Johns Trophy] has long been a source of controversy, but manager Paul Simpson made it clear this week that he sees it as a valuable part of the football calendar.

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“I really do think this is an excellent competition, I have no problem with it,” he said. “I’ve been really fortunate to get to a final a couple of times, and I think it’s good for clubs at our level.

“I might be being a bit controversial here, I believe there’s a negative feeling about this competition with the Cat 1 clubs coming into it, but I think it’s a really good idea.

“It’s great for the development of young footballers to come and play against EFL clubs. I think it’s great for clubs in Leagues One and Two to be able to pit themselves against talented young footballers.

“I’ve learned things from Tuesday and I hope the players have as well. My big learning is that I’ve seen the technical ability that these young players have got, and the speed they go and break at.

“The way they execute passes is really good, so I think this is a brilliant competition and a really good education for us.”

“Speaking to Mark Dempsey from Man United before the game, they like this competition, because it gets their players used to the physical side of the game,” he continued. “It gets them to learn about competing for first balls and getting onto the second balls.

“I think they did that side of it well, and they showed they’ve got something about them. The forward players they’ve got have so much ability, and they stuck to their job defensively.

“The keeper dealt with everything, but having said that, I think we should have got more than one goal. That’s where being more clinical comes into it.

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“When it comes to league games, it costs us three points. We’ve simply got to be more clinical, and I’ve said that for weeks now. We know that if you don’t take your chances you’re going to get punished, and we have to start taking them.

“With the Rochdale game on Saturday, if we’re going to get into the same areas and make the same opportunities, we have to take them to make sure we give ourselves the best chance of winning the game.”

And close to 3,000 United fans were at the game to see how it unfolded.

“That was fantastic,” he told us. “When I turned round and saw the Paddock I thought it was incredible to see the numbers. That is brilliant.

“Everybody will say that Manchester United were in town, but I think that our fans realise that we’re at home as well, and they turned up in their numbers for us.

“Fair play to the United fans as well for coming along tonight. I think it’s been really well supported. I like this competition, I really do.

“It’s been good for me in my career, I think you can learn so many things for it, and hopefully in these games we’re educating young footballers at these top academies that makes them better for the future of English football.

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“What we saw was that we started the game well, and I thought in the second half we were better, but we allowed them to get a bit of a foothold in the game and to be able to get their heads up and play.

“They do have really good movement, they’re quick with it and they’ve got good individual players. I don’t think we got close enough to them for long periods in the first half which meant we couldn’t go and affect the game.

“We were better at it in the second half and I can’t fault the players for their efforts. To supporters that must be a really ridiculous thing to hear, because you shouldn’t ever have to fault players for effort.

“It’s that clinical edge, it’s the ability to be able to find the right pass and finish things off. We didn’t have that when, actually, we got into a lot of good areas and there were half chances created from set plays that we didn’t exploit. That’s where we have to be better.”

The need to dust off and go again is almost an unspoken rule when it comes to finding the right type of reaction.

“We’ve got to make sure we use it as a kick up the backside so we’ve got to make sure we take that into the weekend,” he agreed. “Rochdale have gone and scored three goals tonight against Accrington, and I think they lost on penalties.

“It’s about us and about us learning from the things we’ve done so far. We’ve got to continue with momentum we got from last Saturday’s game and with the new lessons learned.”


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