MANAGER: There are always things to review

United battled back from a two-goal deficit to take a point in last weekend’s league game against Rochdale, and manager Paul Simpson admitted that there had been plenty to review ahead of this week’s training sessions.

"You have to learn from things that don’t go well, that's how it has to be,” he said. “The first thing we know, and we’ve said this for a couple of weeks now, is that we’ve got to start games better than we have been, it’s as simple as that.

“I’ve had a discussion with the players today asking how do we start games better and whether we need to do something differently as staff.

“The truth is that they said it needs to come from them and they have to be the ones to go and get on the front foot. We seem to have a little bit of a tendency, for whatever reason, that we sit back and wait for something to happen.

“Generally, if you do that, something bad will happen, and that’s why you have to go and take it to teams.

“I fully expect Harrogate to come flying out of the blocks this weekend so we’ve got to match them and be prepared to go and work.

“For me, in every game of football that’s the base to go and build on. If you work hard and you’re competitive, you can then go and show your ability after that.”

“I learned something for myself from that game last Saturday because at a goal down I decided I was going to change the shape, but I didn’t get an opportunity to do it,” he revealed. “We equalised, so I stuck with it, even though I knew that the shape wasn’t effective through most of the first half.

“But, to explain how I was thinking, we had some really good opportunities after the equaliser, with Kris Dennis going through and having his saved, and Omari had the chance a few yards out after a good run from Jayden Harris.

“Paul Huntington had a half chance from a set play, so we could and possibly should have been at least 2-1 up at the break. Whether we deserved that is another matter, but we could have been.

“I chose to stick with the shape and then it was such a whirlwind I think it was 40 seconds between the two goals, and at that point I was annoyed with myself because I thought I’d left it too late, having been on the brink of it a few times.

“Thankfully we managed to recover and get back in it. At 3-3 we could have won it, they could have won it, it was that type of game.”

“That shows I’m always learning as well, and it’s important when you make mistakes to admit them and to take it on board for the next time you face something similar,” he told us. “I don’t mind saying this again, but we know that we have to start games much better.

“We have to be at it from the first whistle. We have to be mentally strong and competing physically, basically doing exactly what we did in the first two games against Crawley and Colchester. That’s the tempo we want to see.

“We’ve gone away from that for some reason, so we’ve reemphasised the fact that you have to compete for first contacts, and they have to hunt for the second balls.

“When we get into good positions we have to be clinical, and that’s something else we keep reminding everybody about. In terms of the team, I didn’t learn anything new from that game, to be honest, but there are always things you see that we can all benefit from moving forward.”

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