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Club News

MANAGER: It's about being brave

Paul Simpson on improving in the final third

28 August 2023

Club News

MANAGER: It's about being brave

Paul Simpson on improving in the final third

28 August 2023

Manager Paul Simpson spoke again about the need to keep working on the good stuff as his team continues the process of settling into life in League One.

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“The only way to get there is by keeping working,” he said. “We’ve worked extremely hard as a group, I think the players have put a shift in, but you have to work smart sometimes as well.

“That means a smart run, or a smart movement. There’s an example at the end of the game on Saturday of a cross that goes in and our striker is in front of their centre back, and if he makes a two-yard run forwards he gets a tap-in.

“He decides to make a three-yard run backwards. That’s about being brave to want to score, but you have to make that right decision. We’ve got to keep working, keep trying to find the right personnel and permutations, who will go and do it for us. That’s the challenge we’ve all got at the moment.”

“It’s something we are continually working on,” he continued. “We did crossing finishing all last week, I even did it on Friday, which isn’t normal, because we want better quality.

“We had some great crosses going in at the weekend but, again, you’ve got to get people on the end of it, you have to be brave to want to go and score.

“We’re lacking in that a bit at the moment and we need to get ourselves sorted out as soon as we possibly can. I don’t want to be feeling like this after games, I want a better feeling to it as I’m sure all of our supporters want as well.

“I actually think our two forwards did really well against Port Vale, they caused all sorts of problems. I felt Luke should have worked the goalkeeper when he had the shot first half, Sean should have hit the target with his header, and he knows that.

“But when we’ve made the changes and are putting crosses in, particularly from the right, our forward players haven’t got on the end of it. They’ve got to be brave enough to do it because we want things to improve.”

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And he spoke about the need to take that desire to score to the next level.

“I wasn’t a brave player in that I wouldn’t tackle, I couldn’t go competing for headers and stuff like that, but I was brave to get on the ball and get in the box,” he explained. “I missed loads, but I just had that mentality to get back in. That’s what I want our players to keep doing.

“We can do it in training when there’s no pressure. You have to do it here. We’ve talked a lot about getting across the first post, and if you can’t get it you might put the keeper off.

“It’s that decision-making, that bravery to go and get across there. You have to do it. Not everybody can be a crunching tackler and want to put your head in where studs are, but if your game is being a forward player you have to be brave to go and score. 

“The really frustrating thing is that we’ve been in every game so far, where we possibly should have got more out of them. But there’s no point me talking about it, it’s all ifs and buts.

“If you don’t do both 18-yard boxes properly you’re going to suffer. We’ve suffered at Port Vale, we suffered against Oxford and Exeter, and we’re all suffering together, we’ve got to stick together and make sure we have complete performances, not periods when we’re doing good things.

“What we know is that we can’t keep making mistakes that cost us because, if we do, we’ll continue to be punished. We need to improve and we’ll keep working at it so that we do.”


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