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MANAGER: We showed resilience

Paul Simpson with more on the victory over Newport

15 January 2023

Club News

MANAGER: We showed resilience

Paul Simpson with more on the victory over Newport

15 January 2023

United ground their way through the first half to earn the right to do what needed to be done to edge on top and claim the points on Saturday with goals from Kris Dennis and John-Kymani Gordon which put visitors Newport County to the sword.

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“I’ve got say first of all that it was really difficult conditions to play in,” he said. “There was a swirly wind and that is as cold as I’ve been for a long time.

“It was a tough day, but the lads showed proper resilience to stay in the game against a side who will cause you problems.

“And they did cause us a few problems, we rode our luck a little bit towards the end when they hit the post and there were a few other little situations that didn’t quite go their way.

“In terms of the first half I was just wanting us to get through to half time and still be at 0-0, and then when Denno [Kris Dennis] pops up it just gave everyone a lift.

“That was a brilliant finish, it really was, a real goal scorers finish with great awareness. He gave it a little deft touch and thankfully it bounced the right side of the post for us.

“The first half was really important to get in without having given them a lift, so to go in with a goal advantage was a real bonus.

“I hoped the second half would be better and I do think that we actually were better through that 45 minutes. We had a bit more control in the way we played and that was pleasing to see.”

“Credit to the fans as well because it would have been easy for them to boo and to feel disappointed with what they were seeing,” he continued. “Although they didn’t make a lot of noise in the first half they didn’t actually get negative.

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“I thought that was really good from them and it’s important that they stayed with us because it wasn’t a great day for football. I just felt there was a bit of rustiness in us and that maybe comes from having two weeks without a game.

“We tried to put a plan together that would get us ready for this game but that isn’t always easy. I thought there was that rustiness in there, but we got through the first 45 minutes and we started to get on the ball and use it better.

“We passed it and had some good bits of play, and the second goal is a fantastic strike after a great bit of football. Denno did really well to win the challenge and then he had the calmness to find John in space on the left, and that’s his area.

“That’s where he wants to get the ball when he’s one against one with players, but you normally see him stepping onto his right foot and hitting it. To do what he did and go the other way and get the strike was brilliant, and the quality of the finish will do him the power of good.”

With every point valuable as we head into the busy run, he told us: “It’s a really valuable win, but they all are.

“What we’ve got to do is make sure if results don’t go our way, and we start slipping a few places, we don’t all get screwed up about it. We’ve just got to be nice and calm.

“We’ve done it well for 25 games, we’ve just got to keep going. I think I’m right in saying this is the highest we’ve been, so let’s stay up as high as we can for as long as we can.

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“I’ve got to say I was a little bit concerned going into the game, for a few reasons. I was concerned because we haven’t played for a few weeks, and we can never know whether you’ve got everything right when that’s the case.

“This week hasn’t been exactly how we would have planned, because of weather, we can’t do anything about it, but we haven’t been on grass all week, and it’s a big change to go from working on 4G to then coming onto grass.

“Maybe people would think that would be an excuse and if we’d lost I wouldn’t have mentioned it, because it could have sounded like one. But it’s not easy to do that.

“I was also concerned because I think these are a real tough side to play against. The four draws they’ve had show that they’ll keep fighting to the end. They’ve shown they’ve got proper resilience about them, and a style of play that’s really difficult to play against.

“They’re well organised and they work hard. I just thought we dug in, hung in there, we got a great finish just on the stroke of half-time when I’m thinking, ‘let’s get in at 0-0 and see that half through’.

“Then in the second half we had much more about us. I thought we kept the ball really well and created some chances. I would have loved Jordan Gibson’s effort to go in off the post, I thought he worked really hard today, particularly second half.

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“There was a lot of good things in what was a horrible, grim day, but thankfully we came out with three points.”

Taking the points means, of course, that the Cumbrians continue to hold fourth spot in the table.

“I thought we looked a bit nervous at the start, maybe because of where we are in the league, and possibly that bit of rustiness we talked about,” he commented.

“I think the players should take real pride and great belief after what happened out there. They’ve had to dig deep to get going, they’ve had to work hard for the clean sheet, and it came together. Hopefully they’ll take a lot of enjoyment out of it.

“At the moment things feel really positive. It’s a great position to be in. We have 21 huge games to go and if we can do it properly, and as well as we’ve done the first 25, who knows what can happen.

“That’s the challenge for us, but we know that it can all very easily fall away. The table is still really tight so we have to keep doing our jobs as well as we can.

“I look at games that have gone away from us, and I’ve had another apology from the PGMOL that Tobi Sho-Silva’s goal at Doncaster should have stood. Maybe that’s one point more for us and two less for them, but it’s all ifs and buts.

“These are the fine margins that we work to and we’ve just got to keep battering away, stay professional, continue to work hard, and hope that the results keep coming.

“We are looking up at the moment. We’ve got to try and grab hold of the shirt tails of Northampton and see if we can drag them back and drag ourselves up. That’s the challenge for us.

“We’re in a good position, we’ve just got to keep going for the remaining 21.”

And on the support from the fans on such a miserable day of weather, he concluded: “It’s great because I’m sure there’s a lot of them who looked at the fireplace today and thought it would be a good idea to stay in and stay warm.

“Thankfully they’ve come out and supported us and they’ve gone hone happy with a win. Hopefully they’ll be back for the next one as well.”

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