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MANAGER: We're going to have to train harder

Paul Simpson on 20-odd minutes of added time

6 August 2023

Club News

MANAGER: We're going to have to train harder

Paul Simpson on 20-odd minutes of added time

6 August 2023

The new added time guidelines saw United and Fleetwood play just over 20 additional minutes at Brunton Park on Saturday afternoon, with 13 of those coming at the end of the second period, taking the scoreboard clock into it’s 103rd minute.

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That meant that ‘normal’ time went well past 5pm, something rarely seen when extra time and penalties aren’t involved.

Speaking about the unusual situation at a much later post-match press conference, manager Paul Simpson said: “It’s showing we’re going to have to be fitter and we’re going to have to train for longer so that we make the players more resilient.

“When I asked the fourth official at the end of the first half he said he had eight minutes, because of the amount of corners and free kicks, but they were going to put five up.

“Then at the end of the second half we get 11 minutes, but there’s an injury and a stoppage so it goes to 13. They’ve been told they’ve got to do it, so it isn’t their fault.

“There was a situation in the first half where Jon Mellish got brought down in the box, I didn’t realise it was offside, but I jumped up appealing for a penalty and I was told that could be a yellow card because of the way I made that appeal.

“It’s a game full of emotion, which is the beauty of football, and we’re going to kill it. I think VAR takes emotion out of the game because you’re scared to celebrate in case it gets pulled back, thankfully we don’t have to worry about that.

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“I think the job of the referees and fourth officials is being made really difficult. They’re having to worry about really picky things.

“I totally get that we need to clean the game up and stop time wasting, play acting and being confrontational towards officials. We have to do that, but I think we’re nullifying any emotion that any member of staff or players have during the game.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a pleasant game when all that is taken away.”

The other concern has to be that the additional time could lead to more injuries as players find themselves pushed to the limits and beyond as the clock ticks on.

“We’ve just spoken about player welfare in the office, but with the extra added time there’s been no attention paid to player welfare at all,” he insisted.

“There’s going to be more injuries because of the extension on time and because we’re going to have to put more demands on players in training to make sure they’re fitter and robust enough to deal with the extra time. We’re going to put player welfare at risk.

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“I have to say again, this isn’t the referee’s fault. I think they’re under strict orders, Howard Webb has come in as the head of the PGMOL and he’s insisting on it, so it’s not their fault, they’re just applying what they’ve been told to do.

“I have a real concern about player welfare in them doing this. We talk about everything has to be done for player welfare, we’re now going to have to train harder to make them resilient enough to deal with extended games.

“We’re demanding more and more of the players, we’re going to pick up more injuries because of it, I would imagine, so it’s going to be a real test.

“It’s really difficult because of what the fourth officials are being asked to do. For me they’re going to take all of the emotion out of what is a really emotional game, and I don’t think it’s going to make the game better.

“I think referees and officials have a difficult enough job as it is, I think they’re making it really difficult for them and I think they’re not really considering the welfare of the players in what they’re doing.”


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