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MANAGER: Let's do it kicking and screaming

More from Paul Simpson on the Saturday draw

16 April 2023

Club News

MANAGER: Let's do it kicking and screaming

More from Paul Simpson on the Saturday draw

16 April 2023

It was a frustrating day for the Blues on Saturday with a stalemate with fellow promotion rivals Northampton Town the order of the day after a to and from battle at Brunton Park.

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Speaking after the game, manager Paul Simpson said: “We just seem as though we’re waiting for something to happen instead of making something happen as we’ve done for the bulk of the season.

“I don’t know what’s affected that or what has changed that, but it’s a mentality thing. We’ve got to a point where we’re making ourselves hard to beat, which is really good.

“I thought Tomas [Holy] made a couple of outstanding saves and defensively we’re strong, but we need to make ourselves a tough team to play against as well.

“In terms of the forward stuff, that isn’t what we’re doing at the moment. We’re a little bit tentative and reactionary instead of going and making things happen.

“We’re still in a strong position and we’ve still got the games where it’s in our hands. We’re still in a good position, but if we’re going to do it, I want us to go down kicking and screaming and have a right good go at it.

“I don’t feel as though we did that in this game. I’ve said it too many times, but we haven’t done enough to go and win that game, and I felt it was a game we could have gone and won.”

With some good football played it was the execution in the final third that proved to be the downfall on the day.

“That’s the question I’ve just put to the players, to tell me what it is that’s causing that,” he commented. “We’ve got to trust ourselves and believe in ourselves that we’ve got the ability to do it.

“I think we’ve gone a little bit away from that, but we need to get it back quickly. We’ve got four huge games and we need to get back on it. It’s in our hands, I know other teams can get more points, but if we do our job properly in the last four games we can achieve what we’ve given ourselves a chance of.

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“We need to get back to it quickly, there’s no point feeling sorry for ourselves. There are loads of positives I can take, I can’t fault their work rate or attitude, I can’t fault the way we’ve defended as a team, but I want us to start showing that we’re a bloody tough side to play against in the way we do our forward play.”

It was a game that brought a bright opening with plenty of energy from the hosts.

“I thought we started the game really well,” he told us. “We moved the ball well and we got into really good areas, we just didn’t have that quality.

“The first set play that Mox took was a great delivery and Ben Barclay got a little flick on it. There were opportunities, it was a great ball in from Jordan Gibson in the second half where Denno had the header, but it wasn’t over the line even from the second attempt.

“We’re close but not close enough and we’ve got to do everything we can to grab this opportunity we’ve given ourselves.

“Frustration comes with football and you have to manage it. You have to manage yourself, that doesn’t come from coaches, it comes from within. You have to demand that of yourself and drive yourself to do it.

“Sometimes you have to make ten runs to create one opportunity and we’re just not quite doing that. I’ll watch it again over the weekend, but we’ve got to get back at it.

“If we really want to go and show what we’re about we have to release the shackles and have a right good go. I want us to go down kicking and screaming, not go out with a whimper. I want us to do something about it, and Tuesday is our next opportunity.

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“We’re showing belief and confidence in glimpses at the moment and we’re showing areas where we’ve got real good quality. I thought we had good control at times, but again it’s the execution of things in the final third and the decision making in the final third.

“Unfortunately we’ve had that too many times of late. We’re in a season where we’ve scored goals for fun, but in the last 14 or 15 games we’ve probably had eight or nine where we haven’t scored, and if you want to achieve anything you need to be better than that.”

On the game overall, he said: “We had a couple of half opportunities, but so did they. I thought it was two evenly matches, hardworking sides.

“It’s a déjà vu thing, I’m saying we didn’t have the quality in the final third again, we’ve lost our way for whatever reason, we’ve lost that front footedness that we had where we were getting onto things and causing problems.

“We’re getting into those good areas. The best ball of the game was Jordan Gibson’s cross to the far post, good movement from Kristian Dennis and he heads it on target. The goalkeeper made a good save, I’m told it wasn’t over the line so good decisions from the officials, who I have to say I thought were good.

“I just don’t think we’re doing enough and the sad thing is, it’s gone on for quite a number of games. Whichever permutation of forward players or even wing-backs, it’s not quite happening for us, but we’ve got another really good opportunity on Tuesday to get back to it. 

“It’s down to us, staff and players, to sort this out because the supporters are turning up in their numbers. We can’t ask for any more from them, it’s up to us to get the right team, performance, mentality, show the right ability, and hopefully get the right results.

“That’s why I want the shackles to come off. We’re clinging onto a scramble on the goal line of one chance from Kristian Dennis, can’t think of many others, maybe the set play first half where it flashes across the goal, and we should have had somebody on the far post to get a tap in because players are given that role.”

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“To get back to where we were, it comes from within,” he added. “I don’t really know if there’s anything you can do if I’m going to be honest.

“You can run and you can do tactical stuff and technical stuff in training but the brain is a really powerful tool and I don’t think people really understand how powerful it is. Trying to flip yourself and flick that switch to suddenly become positive as opposed to a bit tentative is a really difficult thing.

“One thing I’ve said in there is, let’s just have a go, if we’re going to try and achieve something, let’s go and give it everything we’ve got. I’m saying go kicking and screaming and have a right good go at it.

“If you’ve given everything and thrown the kitchen sink at it and it doesn’t happen, you have to accept that and take it. I just don’t think we’re throwing the kitchen sink at it at the moment.”

Speaking more about the fantastic level of support, he said: “It was great to see that attendance and long may it continue.

“We need to keep going and give them something to encourage them to come back. Stockport is a big game to encourage them to come back for, and we’ve got to go and perform and get a result. 

“We keep saying it, the supporters are doing their bit, we’ve got to get back to doing our bit and doing it fully, not just part of the job.

“It’s about us now, staff, players, all really coming and stepping up and putting on a performance that gets us a result.”

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