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MANAGER: I want a positive reaction

Paul Simpson on positivity and an injury update

16 February 2023

United head towards the weekend looking for a reaction to the disappointment of the midweek game, with manager Paul Simpson asking for ‘better’ from his group.


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“I want a positive reaction,” he insisted. “There’s always going to be a reaction of some kind, so I want to see a good one.

“We’ve told the players that’s what we want from them. I want to see positivity in everything they do.

“I’m hearing all the right noises and I think we’re getting all of the right responses from everybody I’ve spoken to, so it’s now down to them showing us that out on the pitch.

“That’s down to how we go about it from whoever is selected, and there will be changes for Saturday. Whoever gets the nod has to go out and show us that they’re worthy of the place.”

Expanding on the changes to be made, he said: “Partly, a little bit of that, and it’s to keep everybody involved and keep it right. More than anything it’s hopefully to pick a team that wins a game for us.

“This business is all about three points and that’s what we’re looking for. We’ve done a lot of hard work to get ourselves to this position and we want to make sure we stay there.

“We know if we do it right and we win the game then, barring Northampton getting an absolute avalanche of goals, we’ll still be in third spot. The big thing for me is we have to do our jobs properly.

“We haven’t done it totally right over the last three games, but I still do believe that Wimbledon was a good point.

“Against Harrogate and Mansfield we didn’t do it properly, and you can’t complain if you lose when you’ve done that. If we can win on Saturday it gets us going and ready to push on again.”

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And it goes without saying that the experience in the dressing room is to be leaned on as we go into this important period.

“This is what I've said to the senior players, is that we need them,” he said. “We need them to step up now and we will do our stuff as a staff, but the players are the ones who are in the changing room all the time together.

“And if you see anybody with an issue and you've got to nip it in the bud, you've got to deal with it. And I think as a manager you are only as good as the changing room. If it's a good tight knit group and they’re trying to go about it properly, you've got a real good chance of doing well.

“I think that's what we've got here. So it's no different this week or last week. It's been the same all the time. That's the demands that we put on players to make sure that they do drive the standards and keep it right. And thankfully that's what they've done over the over the whole of the season and I want to keep it going now.”

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On the injury front, he explained: “As I said on Tuesday, Jack Ellis comes into it. He’s fully fit and training, so he gives us another option.

“We’ll make that decision between now and Saturday as to what we think is the right team and what changes are the right ones to make.

“As far as I know Tobi Sho-Silva he has his operation tomorrow, I’ve not been told otherwise. The rest of the lads are all just ticking over and doing the work they need to do with their return targets in mind.”

Another reason to pick up where we left off is the fans, and the amazing support they’ve shown through the first 30 games.

“People pay their money and they’re entitled to have an opinion,” he told us. “I totally get that. I’ve certainly had more abuse than the comments I got the other night, it’s part and parcel of the job, but we do just want everybody to stick together.

“One of the things that has really pleased me since I came back in is the way the fans have come on board with us. I do believe that there’s a real affinity with the players and the supporters, and we’ve just got to keep it going.

“What we saw the other night, particularly for 45 minutes, isn’t what these players have shown all season. I’m quite sure everybody has the odd off day in whatever they do in their walk of life, and that was one for us on Tuesday.

“We have to keep driving each other on and hopefully the fans will appreciate that and keep driving us on as well. We need them as much as they need us and hopefully we’ll give them plenty to cheer about.”

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