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Club News

MANAGER: It'll be another difficult one

Paul Simpson on the Cambridge away gam

27 October 2023

Club News

MANAGER: It'll be another difficult one

Paul Simpson on the Cambridge away gam

27 October 2023

Manager Paul Simpson spoke to us ahead of the away trip to Cambridge at the weekend.

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“It can be a good place to play, and I hope it’s a good place for us to play this weekend,” he said. “It’s always a good atmosphere there, and I know we’ll have a good following, so we’ve got to make sure we go and work, compete, and then play our football when we get the chance to do that.

“It won’t be easy. They’ve got some experienced players, particularly at the back with the two centre backs, Ryan Bennett and Michael Morrison, so we know we’re going to have to be good.

“We’re going to have to be on our game because they’ve then got forward players who have a bit of pace and life about them. It’s a really difficult place to go, it always has been, but they’re on that dodgy run of results, even though they’ll have been delighted with the draw against the league leaders.

“They played well against Portsmouth on Tuesday night so it’s a game that we know we’re going to have to be right for. I want us to go there and continue where we left off on Tuesday.

“It’s no point getting one win, then a couple of losses, you have to get a consistent run of results. I want it to be two wins on the trot and then that takes us into the next game.

“They’ve had a difficult spell but we’ve seen what it’s like, Burton came here on the back of four straight wins and we’d had a little bit of a tough run ourselves, so all games are tough.

“All of them will be different, but we’ll approach it the same way and hope we get the same result from our performance as we did on Tuesday night.”

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And it does feel that the next step for our group of payers to take is to claim back-to-back wins.

“That has to be what we strive for because you can’t be inconsistent if you want to achieve anything,” he agreed. “There are so many positive things going on around the football club at the moment and the only positive we’re missing out on is a run of winning results.

“There are individuals showing they can handle this level, but our points tally tells me we’re not quite stepping up to the level as a group, and that’s where we get judged.

“I think we certainly are capable of stepping up to this level, but at this moment in time we’re not quite there yet.

“We’ve got to improve to get there and whether that improvement comes between now and January, or whether we get an opportunity in January to improve it, that’s what we have to do.

“Football is a ruthless game and you have to get results. If this group can’t get results then we’re going to have to do something about it because we all want to stay where we are.

“I don’t want to have to go back to scrapping and fighting to get into League One. We need to make sure we grab this opportunity and stay where we are.”

With that in mind, is he reaching a point where he assesses what’s been achieved so far?

“It’s not too early, and my assessment is that we aren’t where we want to be at this stage of the season,” he replied. “That’s the top and bottom of it, and it’s because we haven’t got enough wins.

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“We haven’t earned enough points and that’s where we all get judged. I’ve been reasonably pleased with our level of performance in patches of games, I think we’ve had a couple of games where we’ve had full 90 minute performances, and we’ve had different experiences along the way.

“The other night we did well because we dominated the ball with over 60% possession, and we did well at Portsmouth without having the ball. That was about defending and having a good shape, and working hard on the break.

“Then we got done with that late goal, so we’ve seen different types of performances, and what we’ve got to do is just be a bit more consistent, and be more effective in the final third. If we do that, and I know this sounds really obvious, we’ll get better results.”

So is there a knack to balancing the need for constant high-energy performances with the busy run of games that never goes away.

“It’s about them managing themselves as well,” he insisted. “We talk about the fact that 10% of the time they’re in the club, but for the other 90% they’re away from it. That’s when they have to do things right.

“We have to trust them to do that so they’ll have looked after themselves the day after the Burton game, and they all seemed in a good frame of mind when they came in this morning.

“We have no injuries to concern ourselves with from the other night, but the proof will be in the pudding on Saturday afternoon. We just don’t know until they get out on the pitch.

“Cambridge went through a really difficult game against Portsmouth on Tuesday so both teams will be working out how to balance the load they’re doing between games.

“We’ve obviously got the journey, but that will be comfortable, it’ll be fine, we’ll get that done and we’ll be properly prepared. We just then hope the players will be able to perform.

“What doesn’t change is that Carlisle hasn’t gone any further north, this is where we are. This is where we belong, and those trips have to be made, that’s fine.

“When teams come up here they can worry about the journey, this is normal for us to have to go a long way.

“That’s not a reason for a performance being good or bad. We will travel properly, the club are looking after us in terms of our travel, and that’s good as well.

“We’ll go and give it everything we’ve got, and if the result isn’t right it won’t be because of the journey, it’ll be because we haven’t done it properly in the game.”

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