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MANAGER: Consistently doing the same things

Paul Simpson on maintaining standards

2 February 2023


MANAGER: Consistently doing the same things

Paul Simpson on maintaining standards

2 February 2023

With the Blues now in the top three places the challenge has changed, with the team now there to be shot at as they also look to consolidate and step further on.

And you could be forgiven for thinking that there might be a different kind of management required, in terms of keeping feet on the ground and focus on the task at hand.

“You do that just by consistently saying the same messages and doing the same things,” manager Paul Simpson insisted. “That’s what we’re doing, keeping the focus in the right places and on the right things.

“I will say that I’m not finding it hard to do that myself, but the players are making all the right noises as well. We’ve got a core of really good pros in there who all want to try and do things properly, and that’s not just the starters.

“I’m also talking about lads on the bench and others who aren’t involved at all. We’ve had a top-up session this morning and the standard was outstanding.


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“The lads who aren’t playing are driving standards up because of the way they’re doing things. They’re looking to make sure they’re keeping up with everybody else.”

“We saw it through the first half on Tuesday, everybody stayed patient,” he added. “Games aren’t won in 40 minutes. You give yourself a chance of winning if you do it right from the start, but it’s won over 90 minutes.

“You’ve got to stay with the game if it isn’t quite going for you, and do the work that turns it your way. After 20 minutes or so on Tuesday night I was shouting onto the pitch that they needed to keep doing the right things, stick with it, and eventually that worked out for us.

“If we keep our shape and compete properly, it’s fine if the passes in the opposition half don’t always work. They kept their heads and we did have that stroke of luck for the goal, I totally accept that, and I really don’t know how the offside wasn’t flagged.

“But that doesn’t bother me, that went our way, and sometimes that’s how football is for you. That gave us a lift, we got another with the timing of the second goal, and we pushed on to play some really good football. Thankfully the players went out and executed the messages and they showed everybody what they’re all about.”

Expanding on that point, it was noted that all five of the goals had come from spells of very good football.

“We’re not trying to be really clever in our own final third, and risk making mistakes there, but once we get into that midfield area and when we get those attacking players going, we do look to get forward,” he explained.

“I think of Omari going up against players and the movement from Joe Garner, and the link up play with those two where we had nearly moments that didn’t quite come off.

“Jon Mellish had a really good chance where Farman made an excellent save when he sat on the ball, so we are attacking well when we click. If I think about Tomas, and what he had to do at the other end, I don’t really think he had a lot of saves to make.

“As a team we’re defending our goal really well and I don’t mind if opposition teams have possession in their own half or in the middle of the pitch. As long as they don’t come and trouble our goal that’s all I’m bothered about.”

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Along with the importance of maintaining focus is the understanding alongside that of the opportunity that’s been created.

“It’s an interesting thing because you toy with the idea of whether or not to actually give them that message, but they’re not daft,” he told us. “They know what the league table says, they know we’ve now got a great opportunity and they know they have to keep working hard to stay where they are.

“We want to chase the two teams above us at the same time knowing that we’re being chased ourselves. Stevenage have a couple of games in hand on us, there’s no guarantee they’ll win them, but we’ve also got to play the top teams along the way.

“There are a lot of tough games to come but I’d much rather be having tough games when we’re competing at the top end where you’re playing with confidence, than scrapping around at the bottom where it’s a case of win or you risk going out of the league.”

“We’ve done well in terms of how many we’ve scored, but whole game is about scoring goals,” he added. “That’s what gets you wins and points. It’s what I want to see, it’s what the players want to do and it’s what gets the fans going.

“We do give the players a bit of a free reign to go and be creative in the final third, and they’re doing it. We’re scoring all kinds of different goals from centre backs to strikers, and from tap-ins to long range bullets.

“We really don’t care how they come as long as they do keep coming. The intent is there and I’m a big believer that you need to keep it right at the back as well. Clean sheets are so important, so there’s something we need to improve on, because it all matters.

“It’s been good football along the way and we’ve done some ugly stuff as well. There’s a gritty determination about it, and people are sticking with us when it’s not quite what we want.

“There’s no way people will have been bouncing for 40 minutes on Tuesday, because we didn’t get going. That’s a fact. It’s always about seeing games through, doing it for 90-odd minutes. When you stick to your principles you tend to get the results.”

The goals, football and style of play have all come together to see attendances rise, with the manager and his players delighted at the response.

“It’ll be massive if they come again,” he agreed. “That’s for the club, because we all want to see people happy. I thought the way the staff, stewards, ticket and admin people, everybody, handled it on Tuesday night was beyond excellent.

“We had that one silly incident with the flare, and I didn’t actually see I happen because I was talking to the people on the bench, so I didn’t realise the referee had delayed kick off for it. We just don’t need that.

“The way the support in the Warwick is building up, with marches before the game and flags and chanting, how magnificent is all of that. Let’s stay away from the stuff that puts us under the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

“We don’t need pyro, we’re all having a really good time and it’s so enjoyable for everybody when it’s like this. Let’s concentrate on that, and not the silly things that bring fines and bans and stuff we just don’t need.

“We’ve just seen the biggest midweek attendance for many years, the fans were out in numbers, and it will be enormous for the club and for everybody involved, including the players, to run out again on Saturday with another massive crowd and see and hear that noise again.”

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