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Alexander on Wigan defeat

7 October 2017

Manager Graham Alexander spoke to iFollow Iron following the defeat to Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

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Photos: Wigan Athletic (H)

7 October 2017

United were beaten 2-1 at Glanford Park and, although Funso Ojo pulled a goal back towards the end, Alexander said his team simply weren’t good enough to take anything from the match on the day.

ON THE GAME…
GA: We’re severely disappointed because we didn’t play well enough, from start to finish. Okay, we had a good spell after the sending-off but it was still not enough. We gave an extremely poor (second) goal away, which nailed the result in Wigan’s favour. These things need to be ironed out. We’ve been defensively strong as a team so far this season, but over the past two games we’ve given some really poor goals away. They’re not ones I believe the opposition particularly earned through good play. We’re not doing enough as a team to carry giving goals away like that. If you’re going to concede the odd poor goal like that then you need to be scoring at the other end to ensure it doesn’t count towards the result, but we’re not creating enough as a team to get away with those sorts of mistakes. I can ‘feel’ us when we’re at it - the emotion of the team, every challenge. I know the difference between a challenge at 95 per cent and one at 100. I can also see the difference between a 95 per cent run and a 100 per cent one. At the minute, we’re not fully committing to every action we do - that’s angles, passes, runs. Because of that, we’re not playing right on the edge of success. You have to play on the edge. That’s what we’ve been very good at over the last 18 months - playing on the edge and really forcing the issue. We’re playing within a boundary of safety at the moment, and that’s why we’re not scoring the goals like we can do.

ON MAKING TWO CHANGES TO THE TEAM…
GA: We’re looking to score goals, and we have to try different things, and look for the answers. At the minute, I don’t think it’s down to individual personnel. As a group, we’re not playing with the handbrake off. Whoever we put in the team next Saturday, I have to feel what they’re going to give us. That starts from Monday in training. The time for talking about why you should be in the team and what you can do is gone, you have to go and show it. Let the performance pick yourself and keep you in the team. At the moment, we have to start work on Monday morning with a real discipline and focus on what we have to do to win games. In the last couple of games, we haven’t really done enough. We haven’t pushed our game to the line to make sure we score goals and defend well.

ON FUNSO OJO’S FIRST GOAL IN ENGLISH FOOTBALL…
GA: I doubt he will look back too fondly, because it’s come on the back of a performance from the team that wasn’t great. It’s something we’ve talked about, with players from all over the team adding goals, and the burden not just being on the strikers. Midfield players and full-backs need to get forward, centre-backs from corners - the goals need to come from the whole team. We have to focus on what we do now, and everyone has to contribute to both sides of the team.

ON TOM HOPPER COMING OFF…
GA: He’s rolled his ankle unfortunately. It was an innocuous thing when he went for a challenge. It’s disappointing, because he scored a couple of goals in midweek and went into the game confident. To be fair, he did work very hard and put himself about. To lose him early in the second-half was disappointing for him and us. We have other good players who came onto the pitch though. We expect better from the whole team, but we’ll see how Hops is on Monday and whether he’s available.

ON CHARLIE GOODE AND CONOR TOWNSEND RETURNING TO TRAINING…
GA: Charlie started training at the end of this week, so he’ll be back in contention after a full week’s training. We’re hoping Conor will start on Monday or Tuesday, and we’ll see how he is. They’re the two additions to the squad. We’ll see how Hops is on Monday, and will get down to work with who we have available.

ON HOW CLAYTON LEWIS IS SETTLING IN…
GA: Clayton is getting on well with the rest of the team and trying to do extra work fitness-wise. He’s been working with Adam Kerr (head of physical performance) too because he is a little behind the rest of the group. I don’t know how long it’ll be before we see him really competing to be in that first team, but we look forward to adding him to our options, and if he brings what we hope he brings, he could get his opportunity sooner rather than later.

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