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MANAGER: Shown the physical and mental ability to do it

Paul Simpson on the players handling the big occasions

27 May 2023

Club News

MANAGER: Shown the physical and mental ability to do it

Paul Simpson on the players handling the big occasions

27 May 2023

The manner in which the players approached their play-off semi-final double-header has received nationwide praise, with the group showing that they could handle (whatever that actually means) the ‘big game’ occasion.

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“It’s massively encouraged me, because you just don’t know until the players are out there and doing it,” manager Paul Simpson said. “We were nervous at the start of the first leg, but after that we showed we could deal with the situation.

“If we’re ever going to be nervous it would have been in front of our biggest home crowd for years in the second leg when we’re a goal down.

!The players showed they could deal with it, I think our level of performance was as good as we’ve had for a long time, and I’m hoping we’ve learned how to deal with the nervous part of it and a big occasion, as well as how to cope with live TV cameras and now we have to go and show we can do it on the biggest stage in English football.”

A big feature of the Saturday victory was the energy level on show, in punishing heat, from all of players who took part.

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“I looked at the physical data from the game and we covered distances that we hadn’t covered since pre-season,” the gaffer revealed. “We had players up at 16km and others at 13km, which is some going, because we don’t generally run those distances in a normal game, or even on our toughest training days.

“They’ve shown they’ve got the physical and mental ability to do it, and now I’m challenging them to go and do it one more time.

“We may need another few players to do 15km and deal with the mental side of it. They’ve showed they’ve got the ability to do it.”

And with just everybody available [Jack Ellis and Fin Back will miss out] it’s most definitely one of those selection headache moments.

“I’d much rather be facing the challenge of selecting an 11 and an 18 for the game than being on my holidays now,” he insisted. “It’s a lovely challenge, everybody wants to be involved.

“Fin and Jack aren’t going to be available, but other than that we’ve got a full squad to choose from. They all want to be involved and I know there will be some disappointment, but I know once they’re over that disappointment that every single person will want the best for us.”


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