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Club News

MANAGER: We've had a shape that's been successful

Paul Simpson on a formation dilemma

2 May 2023

Club News

MANAGER: We've had a shape that's been successful

Paul Simpson on a formation dilemma

2 May 2023

United boss Paul Simpson spoke about the formation dilemma he faces as we head into the final scheduled game of the season, with a disappointing first half last Saturday followed by a strong second 45 minutes after a switch back to the 5-3-2 formation that has been the cornerstone of the campaign.

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“I’m disappointed with myself in getting too excitable about this 4-3-3, because we've stuck with a shape all season and it's been really, really successful for us,” he told us. “Maybe I got a bit excited.

“Saturday was really about not losing. I wanted to go and win the game, but we also had to make sure we didn't lose, and we gave ourselves a mountain to climb first half, and then we shot ourselves in the foot with the way that we got the man sent off.

“But I thought in the first half we didn’t really get at it. They have I think maybe the third best record away from home this season, so they're no mugs. I just think we undone ourselves. We didn't have the quality in the final third to pick them open when we had some half chances. 

“Our second half was blighted by that lack of discipline. I really do think that lack of keeping your head, lack of professionalism has actually cost us maybe a point, who knows maybe more. 

“I know for a fact we'd have had a better chance of stopping that second goal if Jon Mellish was still on the pitch, because Luke Bolton would have come into Mellish’s slot. Down to 10 men against a good side and it’s difficult. It looks a brilliant finish into the top corner.

“It's one of them things where we just lost our way a little bit for that little spell and the red card, losing the ball up in the top area of the pitch. So yeah, it's disappointing to do that.

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“We were beaten by a good side and you have to say on the balance of the 90 minutes they probably deserved to win, and I just think we've shot ourselves in the foot a little bit with the third goal.”

And with the play-offs within touching distance, he said: “We’ve got it all planned and it's a difficult one because it's nine or ten days, but they’ll get rest days.

“We have to be pleased with where we are because I don't honestly believe that anybody with any real sense of football would have imagined we were going to be having a chance of a play-off place with one game to go.

“I certainly would have snapped their hands off, so these players have been tremendous this season and think we have to remember that.

“It’s about finishing it off properly so we’ll do our final prep on Saturday and Sunday and we'll get down to Sutton and hopefully we’ll go and do enough to make sure we have a shot at the extra games we want to play.” 

 


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