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Club News

MANAGER: We know we have to win games

Paul Simpson on keeping the belief alive

20 April 2023

Club News

MANAGER: We know we have to win games

Paul Simpson on keeping the belief alive

20 April 2023

It’s all suddenly extremely tight at the top of League Two, but with nine points to play for it’s still there for the team at the top of the pile who does those remaining fixtures properly.

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“I think after 43 games we should all have some hope, because we’ve done outstandingly well this season,” manager Paul Simpson insisted. “We’ve got a big challenge ahead, some great games to look forward to.

“We started the season wanting to get enough points to stay in the league. We’ve done that quite comfortably. The second target is can we get enough points to stay in the play-offs. That’s the challenge for us.

“Then if we can get enough points to take one of those top three places, because somebody will jump out and come through, it may not be possible because of other teams having games in hand, but we have to give ourselves the best chance possible.

“That starts on Saturday at Barrow in a local derby that we have to go and give it everything to get three points. But I’ve always had the hope, I’ve got the belief we’ve got enough in there.

“I’ll be honest, I think the supporters had started to lose that hope. I think they’d lost that belief. I’ve had people shouting abuse to me on the training ground in the last day or two, I’ve had letters coming in the post that we’re not doing things right.

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“I always kept that belief. I think we’ve done really, really well, and I’ve seen other people say that Carlisle United are punching above their weight. The truth is, we are. But we’re punching really, really well, and now we’ve got to make sure we punch really well for the last three games.

“I’m delighted we got our goals because that stops idiots who keep making sarky comments about are you showing them where the goals are. The players know. That’s 62 goals this season, that’s not bad going. Let’s just keep our heads, keep together and let’s see where it takes us.”

And the level of performance on Tuesday night can certainly be used as a yardstick.

“Without a doubt, that’s what we’ve got to do,” he agreed. “It’s quite strange really, when I spoke to the players on Monday and I asked them where do they think we are, and what sort of form we’re in, and they’re all a bit itchy and tetchy about it.

“I told them that by my reckoning at the start of the season we needed 1.78 points per game to go up. Over the last ten games we’re at 1.6. We’re not a million miles away.

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“I went through it, things like maybe we could have had a penalty against Stevenage, maybe Gibbo’s shot at Bradford could have gone on the other side of the post, maybe Tomas’s save at Gillingham could have gone to one of ours instead of straight to their player, maybe if it was just one deflection and not two at Orient, but it’s all ifs and buts.

“It is those little things where we’ve just not quite had the rub of the green. So I said we’re not far off, but we have to go and we’ve got to be really front foot and go and flip it over. I’m a big believer that it’s not systems that win games, it’s players.

“We know we’ve got to win games, it’s a high points total league, I expected over the last five years 72 has been the points that’s got you in the play-offs. That isn’t what it’s going to be this year, we’re going to need more.

“We’ve got our first opportunity on Saturday to go and get another three points and we’ve just got to keep trying to get as many as we possibly can.

“I still think we have an opportunity to get an automatic place. But I would imagine there’s about six or seven teams who all think the same. We know we’ve got a really tough run of fixtures, we knew we had a tough run over the last 12, 14 games. But we’re still in there, we’re still fighting and we’ve got to keep fighting.

“I’m confident we’ve got wins left in us without a doubt. Now we need to build some momentum that we’ve got from the second half, we need to take it into these last three and then see what happens after that. Hopefully we can see it through properly. We’ve had a brilliant start in 43 games, now we need to finish it off.”


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