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MANAGER: We got what we deserved

Paul Simpson following defeat to Cambridge

18 February 2024


MANAGER: We got what we deserved

Paul Simpson following defeat to Cambridge

18 February 2024

Manager Paul Simpson spoke following our defeat to Cambridge United.

After the final whistle, we asked Simmo if that felt like one of our most disappointing games this season, he said: “It has to be up there with them, yeah.

“But let's be fair, we’ve had a lot, we’re in a tough place at the moment and I think that shows, it was a bit of a capitulation at the end, we just went to pieces.

“I think the disappointing thing is, I thought we started both halves well and people might laugh and say that's a bit of a strong word but we did.

“We passed the ball well, we got into good areas and got into the final third.

“I do think we were shooting a bit early or crossing in front of players instead of going past them and trying to get in behind.”

The U’s broke the deadlock on 14 minutes, courtesy of a well placed effort from Sullay Kaikai.

“I think it's probably one of their first attacks against us, we don't get tight enough to Kaikai down the line and he’s able to check inside and get a shot off.

“Again, we start the second-half well and then the second goal is a horrible goal to give away. 

“After that, we just went to pieces. We talked before the game about being brave, brave to receive, brave to pass the ball, brave to run, all of those sorts of things and in the end I thought Cambridge made us look like a team of kids against a real experienced side.

“The second one is a mistake, we get that, Harry should've just collected it, it's a comfortable one into him but the ball slipped through his hands.

“The third one we’ve given the ball away cheaply. We’ve given it away sort of three-quarters of the pitch away from our goal. The recovery runs are poor, every recovery run has to be a sprint.

“We looked as though we felt sorry for ourselves today when that second goal went in. We talked about positive reactions when things go against you and we haven't had that today.

“We have to deal with that criticism that we’re going to get, we’re in a tough place at the moment, we’ve got to accept that and just try and come up with a formula with a group of players that are going to be strong enough to deal with this situation and see what we can do.”

Despite the final result, United started both the first and second-half in the ascendancy.

Paul said: “You have to score when you’re on top and it’s been something all season, we’ve not been able to score when we’re on top.

“We’ve got into some really good areas.

“I think it was this week in the press, I was told that everyone says we’re direct, well I don't think we were first-half. I thought we tried to pass the ball, play out from the back and got into midfield areas.

“I wanted our full-backs to try and get a little bit higher and our wide players to stay higher and come inside off the line so our full backs could get it, but we didn't, we were receiving the balls and not breaking their front three’s line, so we tried to change that.

“Second-half, we started okay again, we got forward and got into good areas and you’ve got to score, you’ve got to take chances, when you get opportunities you’ve got to finish things off, but our goals for tally shows we haven't been able to do that over the whole of the season and that's the criticism I’ve got to accept, even though I do believe we are trying to be forward thinking and trying to be attacking.

“Second-half, we put Anton [Dudik] on and tried to go four-four-two, but we never got any joy from that either, so we’ve got to come up with a shape.

“I’ve gone away from playing three at the back because I felt we had to be a bit more positive and play three forwards in Diamond, Gibson and Armstrong, that's not working at the moment so we’re going to have to look again and go back to the drawing board and find a shape that gives us some solidity, but also gives us the opportunity to be creative and try and score goals because it's just not happening.”

Josh Vela and Jon Mellish had penalty shouts waived away in the first-half, speaking on those, the Gaffer added: “I thought Josh Vela’s was a good shout for a penalty, it looks to me that he’s just about to get a shot off and the lad nudges him in the back.

“I’ll be honest, I haven't seen Jon Mellish’s again, but I'm not sure that was a penalty. 

“I do think Josh had a good call for it. 

“Listen, that might have put us into a strong position in that first-half, but over the whole of the game, the truth is we got what we deserved and we got the reaction from the supporters that we deserved as well.”

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