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Club News

MANAGER: Consistency about the work ethic

Paul Simpson on turning good into better

29 September 2023

Club News

MANAGER: Consistency about the work ethic

Paul Simpson on turning good into better

29 September 2023

Paul Simpson spoke once again this week about the very fine margins which have made the difference in a number of United’s games so far this season, with last weekend’s home fixture a prime example.


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“Derby had two clinical moments and we made two mistakes, and we got punished for them,” he said. “At the moment we probably haven’t found the right bit of quality to punish teams when they make mistakes.

“Mistakes are fewer in this league than they were in League Two, so when you get them you have to make them count. Unfortunately we haven’t done that, but it doesn’t take away that we’ve done a lot of good things so far.

“I thought first half against Derby was a real good advertisement for League One football, we did really well, then in the second half we didn’t do as well. There are things to improve on, but it’s not all bad. We’re in an ok position and we’ve just got to try and make those improvements.”

“A lot of boxes are being ticked, but just not enough, if we’re being really honest about it,” he added. “We have to try and get those mistakes out of our game.

“Whether that be a misunderstanding or poor technique, whatever it is, we have to take those mistakes out.

“The longer we’re in the league, the more we’ll adapt to it and get used to this level, and we’ll also improve ourselves. The truth of it is that if we don’t improve, we have to change it. That’s the long-term plan, to make this football club and football group better than we are at the moment.”

Speaking about the changes needed, he commented: “We have to give the guys a chance but also we can’t change the group. This is the group we’ve got until January.

“I don’t really know if there’s anybody out there who is a free agent who is going to come in and be fit enough to hit the ground running and make an immediate impact.

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“We’re not in a position where we can give contracts out and wait four or five weeks for somebody to get fit and be able to affect the first team.

“We need players who can hit the ground running now and when you get to this stage of the season with non-contracted players, there are very few of them who are at the level ready to go in.

“We have to give these lads the time, we all want it to be better but this is where we are at the moment. We’re in the first stage of changing this League One group and improving this group, and hopefully over time we’ll get the opportunity to make it even stronger.”

What can’t be argued is that there is a real sense of confidence within the group, based on the performances which have, at times, merited more then the points return earned.

“They do believe in themselves and I believe in them as well,” he told us. “It’s not all wrong, we’re ok, we’re in a decent position for where we’ve come from.

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“It’s been a whirlwind summer with the late victory at Wembley and the changes that needed to be made. We’re enjoying the challenge, it’s a great position to be in, and I’d certainly much rather be in this position trying to compete at League One than stuck in League Two.

“We’ve just got to keep trying to improve. The players have a determination to keep improving, they’ve got a desire to come in each day and to listen and try to improve. As long as we’ve got that, we’ve got a fighting chance.”

“I wouldn’t say we go over and over any mistakes made but we certainly talk about it and try to learn from them,” he continued. “I think that’s what you’re always doing, when we win games we try to learn from mistakes and sometimes it’s easier to explain them on the back of a win.

“The truth is, you’ve got to try and learn and reflect on all of these things. I wouldn’t say we go smashing them because of mistakes, we try to just talk them through it and get them to understand that there needs to be better communication and more proactive bodies out there. If we can get to that point then we’ll be ok.

“It’s about being consistent every day, not just on a match day. We have to be consistent in the way we prepare for games and the way we analyse the opposition and reflect on our own performances.

“There has to be consistency about the work ethic and the technical and tactical stuff we do. It can’t be a case of it didn’t work on this one, so we throw it all out of the window and change, or it did work on this one, so we just stick with that one thing.

“We have to adapt, we have a framework that we work from and every now and again we might just make a little tweak. It’s not a case of coming out with a totally different framework for the next week, we try to just tweak what we’re doing as we go along.”

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