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Club News

MANAGER: Every game is a challenge

Paul Simpson on the visit of Exeter

18 August 2023

Club News

MANAGER: Every game is a challenge

Paul Simpson on the visit of Exeter

18 August 2023

United host Exeter in what is the club’s second home fixture in the space of four days, and the Grecians head north as an established League One outfit looking to build on a successful season last time out.

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“I think they’re a really good side,” manager Paul Simpson said. “They like to play football and they have some really good individuals. It’s another tough game but we’re going to be saying that every week in this league.

“You have to respect the opposition because of the level we’re at. What we have to do is make sure we create the environment in there that’s an unpleasant place for them to come to.

“When I say that I mean by doing it right. We don’t need to do anything silly in terms of picking up stupid yellow cards from the players, we don’t need our staff getting involved in silly things, and we certainly don’t need our supporters getting involved in daft things either.

“We just need to make it a difficult place because of the way we go about it and because of the atmosphere the supporters create.”

“With Exeter, I think they look as if they’ve got to know each other fairly well so far,” he added. “They have a fluid style about the way they play but I’m hoping that we can focus on us and do what we know we’re capable of.

“We’ve just started to show a little bit in that second half against Wigan. We worked hard in the first half, I have no problems with that, it’s the in-possessions stuff that I want us to be better with.

“The higher you go up the more valuable it is to keep the football, and we’ve got to stay in possession for longer with that in mind. Along with that it needs to be possession with a purpose, where we get something at the end of it.

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“It’s just a simple fact, you have to keep the ball at this level. We saw that against Fleetwood, at Oxford and against Wigan. If you keep giving the ball away you’re going to give yourself a tough time.

“The goal we conceded on Tuesday, and the two opportunities we gave to Oxford, they all came from us playing square and backwards. We’ve got to think positively, think forward, and if it isn’t on, come safely back out and keep it. The first thought has to be think forward, and then go from there.”

As ever, there’ll be respect for the opposition but also a concentration on how the home team can cause problems.  

“I’m a big believer that it’s about what we do, and we’ve got to keep it that way,” he commented. “We’ve got to understand what the opposition will bring to it but make sure that we’re right in doing what we do properly.

“This is the next game for us, I’m certainly happy it’s at home and not away from home, that is a trek down there. But they’ve got to do it, come up here, and we’re looking forward to it.

“We want to carry on from where we left off on Tuesday, and start with the same sort of enthusiasm and energy, the same sort of aggression in the way we play, and hopefully we can get the right result. 

“I think if you look at three teams we’ve had so far in the league, with Fleetwood, Oxford and Exeter, they have settled into League One, they’ve found their feet.

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“We’ve got to aspire to be like these three teams we’ve faced so far, we’ve got to try and get ourselves up to that level and hopefully that will be the case. I think it’s a great game for us to look forward to.”

Speaking more about what we can expect to see from the away team, he told us: “They have some good footballers and they’re a real footballing side who want to play out from the back, like we saw against Wigan.

“They have good footballers in midfield, it’s not long ago that Tom Carroll was playing in the Premier League. He’s a really good footballer, they’ve got pace in wide areas, it’s going to be a challenge, but every game is going to be.

“We had challenges last year, there will be challenges this year, and hopefully we’re able to deal with it. They’re a club that’s benefiting from player sales as well.

“They’re selling them for good fees, and that’s what you have to do, it’s the way to survive. We’re fortunate we get a good fanbase coming to watch our games, we’re getting money into the club that way.

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18 August 2023

“We’ve got good business support coming at the moment. A bigger revenue is if you’re producing your own players and selling them on. That’s something as a club that we have to do better, than we have done certainly in my time at the club. Hopefully we can improve on that side of it.”

And one absolute given is that the fans will be doing their bit.

“We’ve seen that they can create a good atmosphere and they keep doing it,” he told us. “They’ve done it nearly every single game that I’ve been back here. We need it even more.

“We need to keep them coming in and I hope that people who turned up on Tuesday were encouraged by what they saw, and they’ll want to come back again this weekend.

“Let’s get even more in. It’s a big thing, I understand that there are financial difficulties going on, but if Carlisle United Football Club doing well it doesn’t half help our city. It helps everybody, it makes everyone’s lives that little bit better, and we’ve got to do everything we can to keep them coming in.

“When you see all the flags in the Waterworks, everyone is doing their bit. I thought every side of the ground made really good noise on Tuesday night.

“When I watch the games back they don’t have any sound on them, but I didn’t appreciate how much everyone jumped up and was celebrating.

“It was fantastic and that’s what they come for, and that’s what we want to be involved in football for. Hopefully there’s a lot more of those occasions.”


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