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MANAGER: More of what we did in the second half

More from Paul Simpson on the Sutton game

8 May 2023

Club News

MANAGER: More of what we did in the second half

More from Paul Simpson on the Sutton game

8 May 2023

United left it late to grab their equaliser at Sutton on Monday afternoon, and a point was the least they’d targeted, as confirmed by manager Paul Simpson when he spoke to the press after the game.

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“Of course, and I said that during the week. We were coming here to win, and I said to the players that if we couldn’t do enough to win then don’t lose.

“We had a bit more of a go in the second half, we had a bit more life about us, and let’s be honest, to be in the play-offs after 46 games, with some of the teams that are in this division, is a bloody good achievement.

“I don’t care what anybody says, we should be pleased. I know there might be disappointment because we didn’t get up automatically, but it isn’t easy. Football isn’t easy at all.

“League Two is a tough division and there are much bigger teams than us in terms of the backing that they get with finances. There’s nobody bigger than us in terms of our support, and that was incredible again today.

“I think we’ve given them something that we’ve got to now take into the next two games. We’ll have Bradford away next weekend and what an incredible game to look forward to. If you can’t get yourself up for that, you shouldn’t be involved in professional football in my opinion.”

And it was a superior goal difference that guaranteed a home tie in the second leg.

“Last season we were worried because we hadn’t scored enough goals, this season we’ve scored a bag full,” he told us. “Recently, over however many games, we haven’t been as prolific, but it’s about what you do over 46 games.

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"It’s how you achieve it, and that’s what we’ve finished off today. We’ve seen it through, we’ve got ourselves the point that secures the place we wanted.

“When you look at some of the other results, Hartlepool drew at Stockport, Salford lost at home, it was just important that we finished it off by getting at least a point. We’ve done it, we stayed fifth, now we need to just move on again.”

The equaliser with six minutes of normal time left to play was the end result of putting the ball into the right areas.

“We were more energetic in that second half, we played forward a bit better, we got balls into the box better, and it comes from a long throw,” he said. “It’s scruffy, I accept that, but who cares.

“It doesn’t matter how you score, we’ve had a few like that scored against us, so I’m delighted we’ve got the point and I can’t tell you how pleased I am to see that sort of support. We have to get ready this week off the back of this and make sure we’re right for next weekend.

“We want more of the type of stuff we did in the second half. We had to do something different because we just weren’t at it in the first half, for whatever reason. We need to look at that, we need to make sure we’re better, it’s as simple as that.

“I thought this was a game where it was there for us to win, if we’d been right and on our game, but unfortunately we weren’t quite there.

“We knew they were going to be quite direct and that we’d have to look for second balls, and we knew they’d press if we played backwards or square, and we invited them to do that. That’s how they got a bit of foothold in the game, but thankfully we were able to get a bit more life about us and we’ve come away with what is a really valuable point. But we also know that we need to keep improving.

“It was heartening to get ourselves back into it in the second half and to get the goal, however scruffy it was. I’m really pleased with that. Now it’s about everybody living their best life, being their best professionals they can be, because that will give us the best chance of trying to achieve what we want to do.”

“I don’t know if there was a little bit of nervousness about us, and maybe that’s been the case up and down the country, with Salford losing, Stockport drawing at home, Bradford drawing, and it looked that way with us,” he concluded.

“We asked them to be a bit more front foot, to go and compete for second balls and run in behind them. Unfortunately we just didn’t do it particularly well first half.

“Second half we did it better, had a bit more life, put them under pressure. We have to start games well, properly. We’re not good enough where we can give teams a goal start, we’ve shown that over the season. We now have an opportunity to make sure we start the next game properly. 

“When we’ve done well this season we’ve started games really strong, took games to the opposition and that’s what we need to do away at Bradford. We have to make sure we’re still involved in it come the end of that first tie and get ourselves ready for it.”


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