Skip to main content Skip to site footer

MANAGER: The fans are fantastic

2 March 2024


MANAGER: The fans are fantastic

2 March 2024

Manager Paul Simpson spoke following our defeat to Reading.

“It’s a tough game, I knew it was going to be a tough game before we started. 

“I’ve got to say, I think they’re one of the best sides we’ve come up against at home this season. I tried to play them down a little bit in my media this week, trying to take the belief and confidence that we picked up by getting a result at Burton, but the sheer pace and athleticism today has caused us all sorts of problems.

“I went with the same shape and the same side because we’ve waited to get that result at Burton and I felt as though they deserved to go again.

“Unfortunately today, the pace of the opposition has pulled us all over and it was one of those situations today where you change it to try and help you in one area and it opens up gaps in other areas. 

“They exploited us with the pace in behind, the pace down the channels with their wide players and Knibbs and Smith, they’re a clever, really well drilled side and it was tough for us.

“Really pleased with the attitude of the players, they stuck at it, the way they tried to finish the game, the way they stayed front foot. Unfortunately we got done by a team who were far better than us on the day and also we weren’t good enough in the little moments we had. 

“You look at the first opportunity of the game when we didn’t get that bit of luck, it was a good bit of inventiveness from the free-kick, Mellish goes down the line, whips a great ball in, on another day their defender knees it into his own goal but he gets it wide of the post and Luke Armstrong can’t quite get the bits. 

“After that, they took real control of the game because of the ability they’ve got. 

“First and second-half we’ve had really good opportunities from set plays, particularly free-kicks, I can think of three first-half, one corner second-half where we’ve got to get better quality in. The quality Jordan Gibson showed for that one to get Mellish’s header shows what happens if you put the ball in the right areas, just like we did at Burton on Tuesday, putting a good free-kick in the right area and we get people on the end of it.

“All in all, I’d say we got what we deserved out of it because they were a far better team than us on the day.”

Assessing the goals we conceded, Paul said: “The first goal, they made the pitch really big and they dragged us around and it’s a straight run from Smith and he lobs it over Harry.

“The second one, I think he’s danced around us far too easily down our left-hand side.

“The third one, it’s the second phase of a set play and we don’t stick with our man and they get a free finish on it.

“Lots of things that we should do better, but as I say I’ll take the belief because of the way the players kept going until the end of it, when they kept plugging away and we have to hang on to that.

“We thought if we could’ve nicked another one before 85, we might just put them under pressure but we didn’t quite get there. We got into some really good areas in the final third and we delayed on our cross going in and we didn’t get the right sort of quality on it.

“You only have yourself to blame when those things go wrong, it’s the technical side which let us down today, not the mental side, the physical side they were just quicker than us, bigger, stronger and that’s something I’ve noticed over the whole of this season in League One. The athleticism of the opposition has been much different to what we’re used to and it’s something for us moving forward, we have to recruit more athletic players.”

United continue to endure a tough run of form, despite Tuesday’s win at Burton.

“I’ve said it for weeks now, it’s not about talking about the relegation or being bottom of the table, it’s about playing for pride and trying to get some respect back.

“I do think the way the players stuck at it, we can take belief from that and there’s no point slaughtering them because as I said, we were beaten by a better side today, we were beaten by a more athletic side, we were beaten by a team that have got players who are Championship level. 

“We can only aspire to get to that level to bring that type of player in, they’re one of the best sides we’ve come up against. 

“On our surface, teams like that love coming to play on it. We’ve got a fantastic playing surface, maybe we need to make it worse, especially at this level, our playing surface is too good and we’ve not been able to use it as well, you look at teams like Wigan and their pace early in the season, Peterborough, what they did, Portsmouth, the way they can play with their pace, these today, they’ve really enjoyed coming here. 

“They staff have just said to me, they came up, looked at the pitch and thought wow, this is a place for us to play and that certainly has been the case.

“Credit to Dave the Groundsman for getting a fantastic pitch because other teams are enjoying playing on it.”

Carlisle supporters backed the lads in numbers once again and Simpson had the following to add: “The fans are fantastic, they really are and I got that they were disappointed at half-time, but they stayed with them because they saw the second-half, the way the players stuck at it, we got ourselves a little bit of a lift, but the third goals a real killer for us because at 2-0, we said at half-time that the next goal is big and we got to half-time at 2-0 because of a fantastic save from Harry Lewis, tipping that one round the post.

“We were certainly a bit more positive, had a bit more desire to get forward in that second-half.

“When you’re 3-0 down it’s difficult to come back, maybe if we nicked another one just before that 85 mark it might’ve given us a fighting chance.

“Sadly it was not enough, we have to move on to the next one.”

On Tuesday night, the Blues face Whitehaven Miners Social in the semi-final of the Cumberland Cup (7pm kick-off).

“It’ll be a strong side that we’ll be putting out because we’ve got a lot of first team players who need minutes. 

“We’ll see how everyone is today, whether everyone’s come through okay, which I think they have and then we’ll take it from there”

Today’s match marked the end of an era, as Kit Man Col retired after 15 seasons with the club.

“Col’s been a fantastic servant to the club, he’s chose to retire, we’ve had conversations over the last few months and it’s one of those things were the clubs making changes all over, Col’s decided he wants to go now, so I wish him a happy retirement, I’ve spoken to him, I’ve told him he’s always welcome here and I’m quite sure he’ll be popping in for a coffee with us, I would imagine he’s going to be at games here as well. 

“He’s been fantastic for this football club, like all things, good things come to an end and we’ve just got to keep moving the football club forward.”

Advertisement block

iFollow Next Match Tickets Account