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Club News

MANAGER: The players have worked hard for it

More from Paul Simpson on the Saturday win

3 September 2023

Club News

MANAGER: The players have worked hard for it

More from Paul Simpson on the Saturday win

3 September 2023

United boss Paul Simpson was typically analytical of his team’s victory at Brunton Park on Saturday afternoon as he spoke to the press about what was a very good overall performance.

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“I thought the crowd were brilliant today,” he said. “It’s difficult for me to say we totally deserved it because I thought they put us under a bit of pressure, especially towards the end before we got the second goal.

“They threw everything at us and I thought they were a good side, but thankfully we got the goal. It was maybe a bit lucky from the set play, but if you keep putting balls in there you can get a bit of luck, and we got that this time.

“The second goal is such a relief, and I thought Terry Ablade came on and caused chaos with his pace. I thought the two strikers who started caused problems and did well, but the finishers who came on in Terry and Joe Garner also caused problems.

“Terry is going to be a real handful with his pace. I think the base for us today was the way we defended against a side who are really effective with Bowman and Udoh up front.

“They cause problems, Udoh caused some problems in the first half by dropping into little pockets and it’s probably fair to say we were a bit lucky that he wasn’t as positive as he can be, and he didn’t go and face us up.

“Once we started to lock on up against them we were a little bit better. I think you can feel the relief from everyone with the fact we’ve got that win.”

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And it’s fair to say that the shackles came off on the terraces and on the pitch when that first goal was bagged.

“We haven’t really had a lot of luck in the final third this season and luck plays a big part in things,” the gaffer told us. “First half we had some decent half chances where we didn’t produce the quality we needed to by taking the extra bit of care and getting the final pass in.

“I said to Mox, it was probably his worst corner, but we had a bit of luck from it. You have to be lucky at times and we got that. We were really keen to get the first goal and I think it settled the players and supporters down. Thankfully we got it and it’s a big three points for us.

“We know set pieces are important. We always say to make sure you know your job and do your job for set pieces. Attacking set plays are about the delivery and everybody knowing where they’re supposed to run.

“We got a bit of luck from it but sometimes if you work hard you get some luck. I thought the second goal was a really well worked goal. Terry has chased down a lost cause and got on the end of it before he got the ball across, whether Alfie meant to run over it I don’t really know, but it was a really cool and calm finish from Joe and I’m delighted for everybody.”

And, of course, a clean sheet is always a solid foundation from which good things can spring forth.

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“I thought the back three were excellent in the way they defended,” he commented. “I thought it was Sam Lavelle’s best game, he didn’t lose many headers until Mata came on for them and caused a few issues.

“As a back three I thought they defended really well and the wing backs stuck to their task. We had to because we were under the cosh towards the end of the game.

“They were sticking more strikers on and bombarding our box. Thankfully Jokull came and took a few crosses as well. It’s easy to be positive when you win 2-0, so we’ve got to make sure we keep improving.”

So just how important was it to get the weight of the desire for that first win off the shoulders?

“I said to the players before the game, and I’ve said it to them this week, that they needed to clear their heads,” he explained. “We needed to forget about what had gone before because we can’t change that. We just have to be really positive and play with a bit of freedom.

“We got the ball down and found some passes, I thought Mox and Gibbo got into good areas and picked good balls up. We just didn’t produce enough to be really effective, particularly in the first half.

“I thought as the game went on we were better at it. There’s something to build on, it’s the first win, game number six is out of the way in terms of the league. We’re looking forward to a cup game at Accrington this week then we get ready for the next big one next weekend.

“But yes, it is important because we’re all judged on the pitch, not in training or on what we say. We’re judged on matches.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the players and staff have all been trying to do the right things, it just hasn’t happened for us, but not through a lack of trying. We’ve just got to keep working as hard as we possibly can to try to keep building.

“It’s a big win for us. The first one’s always the hardest. We got a lot good things from the players, a lot of good stuff from the supporters, and it gives us something to build on. 

“I have to say that the supporters were superb. I was a little bit concerned that we might be going down to 5,500 or 6,000 - so to see we’ve had over 7,000 is absolutely brilliant.

“That’s what we need, we’ve had a real bit of momentum over the past few months and we’ve got to keep it. Everybody has to stay together and stay with the players and the football club.

“We need them with us to be successful, we need everybody together and the fans really played their part.”

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