Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Club News

MANAGER: It had a really competitive edge

Paul Simpson with his thoughts on the Livingston friendly

19 July 2023

Club News

MANAGER: It had a really competitive edge

Paul Simpson with his thoughts on the Livingston friendly

19 July 2023

The Tuesday afternoon behind-closed-doors friendly meeting with Livingston was a high tempo affair, with both teams enjoying spells of dominance in a game that had plenty of talking points.

Club News


18 July 2023

Speaking shortly after full-time, manager Paul Simpson said: “That was a fantastic test, and that’s why I like playing these sorts of games.

“We know the Scottish teams are probably two or three weeks ahead of us in terms of sharpness and actual match practice, but that was exactly what I wanted out of it.

“It was physical, it was demanding, we had to do both sides of the game and we were made to work hard.

“We were tested on the defending side of things and the one thing we know we need to be better at is keeping the ball and making sure we’re patient.

“I thought as the game went on, and in the second half especially, that we got much better at that. We were calmer, we used it more, we retained it more rather than allowing to be turned over, which was happening far too quickly in the first half.

“We also had an opportunity where we could change the shape and have a look at some of the in-game switches we make with personnel and formations, and we certainly looked better for doing that.”

Club News

GALLERY: Images from the Livingston friendly

19 July 2023

And the competitive edge added an edge to the way the players went about their business, with snap in the challenges and energy in the running.

“I think you need that competitive edge to do it properly,” he commented. “The first three games have been nicey nicey where it is a more typical pre-season game, but you find that fixtures like this are anything but that.

“You get a real test, you get pushed, and that was good. I’m really pleased with a lot of the things we did and I’ve also seen areas where I still think we need to be better, within the group, and there are obviously the areas we know about where we still want to strengthen and add to it.”

It was a game that saw Livingston start sharply, with the Cumbrians taking a measured approach to the way they worked themselves into it.

“You have to find a way to do it,” he told us. “They gave us a different type of challenge, they played with a shape that does give us a test, as we found last season, and that’s why we ended up changing it as the game went on.

“Overall I’m really pleased. I’m still of a mind that it’s pre-season and we’re starting to get a little bit more shape about how we play, but there were a lot of good things from some individuals and also from some of the units as well.


HOSPITALITY: Join us for the Dundee United friendly

19 July 2023

“When you go behind in any game it’s not so much about the reaction, it’s about finding a way to get back into it, and that’s what we did.

“I think we should have equalised a little bit earlier, there was no reason for Ryan Edmondson to stray offside, but we kept doing the right things.

“There was some really good forward play without having that final finishing touch to it, but there were things we can be pleased about and that we can build on.”

It was one of those where it felt like the goal was coming.

“It did, I agree with that,” he said. “We kept pressing and probing and we got the ball into better areas much sharper.

“There was a better shape about us in the second half, but again it’s all down to learning different things about each other as we go through these next few weeks, that’s the important thing.

“We’ll look at how we played, we’ll review it, we’ll keep the lads working hard and we’ll keep looking to step things up.

“There’s a group who will be doing some extra runs and some football work even though they’ve played half an hour, just to make sure that we all stay at the same level.

“I said to all of them before kick off that we are still in pre-season, but we’ve got between now and Fleetwood to make sure that we get everybody homed in properly and hopefully everybody up to a level of fitness.”

United’s equaliser, netted by Ryan Edmondson, was an example of keeping going as the Blues probed before finishing it off.

“I do think that’s because we had a better shape behind the ball,” he explained. “That was the big thing in terms of why we got our goal.

“We’ve talked about having defensive security, even though we want players to get forward, we want bodies in the box and we want to see overloads in wide areas.

“I think if you’ve got the right shape behind the play you can pick the ball up and get that second and third wave of attack going, which we did.”

Advertisement block

iFollow Next Match Tickets Account