The Dugout #13Date: 01 December 2017 at 13:11 by Liam Cook
Welcome to the 13th edition of 'The Dugout', but with a difference. Usually we chat to Coventry United Assistant Manager Luke Morton about games gone by, future fixtures and other pressing matters at the club. However, Luke is currently recovering from surgery, therefore taking a break from coaching duties. We wish Luke a speedy recovery and we hope to chat to him again soon. In Luke's absence, we have invited Red and Greens First Team Coach Ollinton Matthews Paris to fill the void. No pressure then...
Liam - It’s just been one of those weeks for United. First the Coleshill defeat, then the League Cup exit. In your time at United you can’t have endured many 7 day periods as disappointing as this?
Ollinton - This is my first season at United and we’ve had some great moments in my time here, but it’s fair to say that after some good recent form, results wise, this week hasn’t been our best. Coleshill are a very decent side and got the win on the day, fair play to them. I know this group have a lot of character and are desperate to improve. They learned from the game and will be looking forward to playing them again.
Liam - It was clear to see how disappointed the players were after the Coleshill game. How did they react in training before the midweek fixture?
Ollinton - The players were naturally disappointed, it shows they care and they are desperate to put it right.
Liam - But like the weekend, Wednesday turned out to be another setback. Against a side the Red and Greens thrashed 6-0 less than 3 weeks earlier, surely victory was expected?
Ollinton - Wednesday’s result was difficult to take, especially as we went a goal ahead and with periods of good possession. While yes, we’ve beaten Quorn previously, a win is never expected by us. We know we have to play our part to earn the win and get the job done on the pitch.
Liam - The game started well enough with Craig Reid giving United a 1-0 lead. Did the players get complacent at half time?
Ollinton - There was definitely no complacency in the dressing room at the interval, but when you don’t capitalise on good pressure and opportunities, things can sometimes go against you in the game. The penalty awarded against us was a prime example of that, but you would still think we had enough to get the job done.
Liam - What was the reason behind the 2nd half collapse?
Ollinton - It’s difficult to explain the second half with a definitive answer to be honest. Football isn’t an exact science, but the collective ability and experience in the squad would make you feel confident about managing a result from that position.
Liam - In an interview on Wednesday night, United manager Terry Anderson questioned the mentality of the United players in the last week. How can the coaching staff aid the players in gaining a stronger mind-set, or is it simply down to the players themselves?
Ollinton - The footballing abilities are clear to see, but there are many different aspects of the game that produce results. The mental side of the game can’t be underestimated, it plays a vital part in individual and team performances. It’s down to everyone involved to analyse any weaknesses and doubts so we can maximise our strengths moving forward, not just the players who cross the white line. We all have a collective responsibility. We had an honest and frank discussion at training and then set about putting things right on the pitch. The group is stronger for it going forward and we’re prepared for Saturday. With a clear plan and everyone working hard in the same direction, it makes it easier for the players to go out and deliver like we know they can. We’re looking forward to the challenge ahead and we’ll tackle it together.
Liam - With the League Cup journey now over, as disappointing as the defeat to Quorn was, could this be a blessing in disguise as fixtures come thick and fast, increasing the work load for coaches and players?
Ollinton - Everyone loves a cup run and we definitely wanted to progress to the final, unfortunately that won’t be the case. With lots to play for in the league, I understand the argument against the extra games we won’t have to play, whether that is a blessing remains to be seen. There’s a lot of important games to play and we’re fully focused on the job at hand.
Liam - Cup Week continues on Saturday with the trip to Bromsgrove in the FA Vase. It could well be a make or break match for United’s season. How important is victory, and can it be achieved?
Ollinton - Victory is always the aim for everyone associated with the club, and while this is understandably a high profile match, every game is important, no matter who or where we play. That’s the winning mentality in the dressing room. I’m yet to see a team we can’t beat on our day, so while they’re a strong competitor, if we play to our capability and stay united, we can definitely achieve the win.
Liam - And finally, the Red and Green Army will be at the Victoria Ground in high numbers this weekend. How can the united faithful play their part?
Ollinton - We really appreciate all the support and positivity that comes from the stands. The fans play a massive part. It gives the players and staff a lift and we’re working hard to give them a performance worth shouting about.