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MANAGER: Do everything to make it turn

More from Paul Simpson on the Exeter game

20 August 2023

Club News

MANAGER: Do everything to make it turn

More from Paul Simpson on the Exeter game

20 August 2023

United boss Paul Simpson gave us his thoughts following the Saturday home game against an Exeter side who took their chances to claim the points.

Match Reports


19 August 2023

“I thought we did a lot of good things, I thought we worked their goalkeeper better, and I thought we had some good, controlled possession,” he said. “We just didn’t work him hard enough.

“I think my overriding thought is that we’re actually not far away from where we want to be, and that’s probably the biggest frustration as well. We’re doing these good things, but you’ve got to score goals, especially when you’re on top.

“I thought we started the game well, we had a great attitude towards it, and we made them defend. I’ve got to say, I thought they defended for their lives and did it really well.”

“It’s becoming really evident, and I can’t even remember if it was the same last season, but the first goal is so important,” he continued. You have to get the first goal, particularly if you’re having a spell where you’re actually doing well.

“We got into the final third and we had opportunities to get crosses in, but we hit the first man with them or we just haven’t picked out our own players. There is a little bit of a frustration there, but I can’t fault the effort and work rate.

“They’re working their socks off, they’re doing all of that sort of stuff, and I know that should be a given, but it’s not always the case.

“I think the supporters are seeing that as well because they stayed and they clapped them off. I know there was a lot of people who did leave but they still applauded them off at the end.

“They know they’re putting a shift in, so we’ve just got to stick together, keep going and make sure we do everything to make it turn.”

Club News


20 August 2023

Speaking about the goals conceded, he commented: “We dealt with the first contact, Paul Huntington got the header on it, and we’re picking up on the edge of the box.

“Unfortunately for that fraction of a second if you just ball watch and take your eye off your man the guy gets half a yard and puts it in the net.

“The second goal, we’ve got two players around Randall, the midfield player, and he’s able to make a run off them and take it on his chest to slide it through.

“I’ve said this before, for every goal you concede there are all sorts of mistakes, and we’ve been punished for a couple of them. What we didn’t do was punish the opposition for any moment where they slipped up.

“And what I will say is that I still think we’ve had opportunities in the final third where we’ve let ourselves down. The pleasing thing is their keeper’s had to make saves and their back three have had to defend.

“We just weren’t able to unlock it. Then we’ve been punished for a couple of lapses in concentration and that’s something we’ve got to learn from. The higher you go, the more you get punished for any little mistakes you make.”

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There was, of course, a strong argument that the scorer of the second goal should have received his marching orders for a second bookable challenge that want unchecked by the referee.

“It’s a borderline one, isn’t it,” the manager told us. “I actually think if he hadn’t been given the yellow card for the first challenge, he would have got it for that second one.

“I don’t want to see players sent off, and whether that second challenge is worthy of a second yellow card, and then ultimately a red, I don’t really know.

“That isn’t why we’ve lost, so I’d be clutching at straws if I was to claim that’s cost us the game. We haven’t scored when we were on top, we haven’t finished things off, that’s why.

“Yes, it probably should have been a second yellow, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over the fact that the referee chose not to give him it.

“It’s maybe a little bit of a lazy challenge from Mitchell rather than him being reckless. I think under normal circumstances and the way the officials are reffing games, it would have been a yellow card.

“As I say, that’s not the reason we’ve lost today. I think he’s a lucky lad but I’m not going to have a go at the referee for something like that.”

And on the chances that came and went for the hosts, he said: “There were some half chances, just not enough.


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“I thought Sean Maguire, you can see the quality he brings to the team. I thought we got into good areas and caused them problems, but you have to finish things off.

“We must have had double figures in corners, we talked about loading up the front post and getting across there, we’ve had maybe four or five where nobody’s got on the end of that cross where, if you do the jobs we ask them to do, we get something from it or have a chance.

“Paul Huntington had the header, a bit unfortunate, but we’ve had some good opportunities and I think some good passages of play where we created those opportunities, but we haven’t been ruthless. It’s something we have to be better at. 

“We simply have to score. I do think the players were thinking to go for the jugular, they were talking about that before the game, we just didn’t have enough to be able to do it on this particular day. I think we’ve got the players to do it. We have to just show it.

“It comes down to the fact that they were better than us in those moments. We weren’t able to find the corners of the goals, we’ve worked the goalkeeper but a lot of them were comfortable saves.

“I think Mellish first half tested him a little bit, but apart from that they were all fairly comfortable saves, and we weren’t able to do what they did to us. We have to just improve on that quality. I suppose that’s been the thing I’ve said after every game so far this season.” 

“Exeter have shown the way with how they’ve settled in League One,” he continued. “That’s what we have to strive to achieve. I thought we saw that with Wigan.

“Look at Wigan’s result today, I think it shows what a good second half we had against them on Tuesday. We’ve found that with all the games we’ve played, all of the teams, Fleetwood, Oxford, Exeter, these are teams who’ve established themselves in League One and that’s what we’re trying to do.

“We have to grab hold of their coattails and make sure we stay close to that. I can only thank the fans for playing their part.

“I think they can see the players are putting a shift in. I can’t fault the effort they’re putting in, the way they’re trying to go about it.

“Unfortunately we’ve not finished things off when we’ve had the opportunities, when we’ve been in control of the game, we haven’t been able to take our chances, that’s something we’ve got to do better and improve on.

“Overall I don’t think we’re a million miles away, we’re not far off, and we have to get it to turn as quickly as possible.”

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