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Interviews

Hurst praises performance as Iron make it three wins in a row

23 November 2019

Manager Paul Hurst praised his side after they made it three wins in a row in all competitions with a 2-1 home win over Port Vale.

Kevin van Veen and Kgosi Ntlhe scored the goals as United made it nine games unbeaten at the Sands Venue Stadium.

He told iFollow Iron: “It’s great to get back-to-back wins in the league and we’ve moved up some more places in table. I was really, really pleased with the performance.

“We know it’s results that matter but the only thing that probably doesn’t reflect is the scoreline, which made it look a closer game. Not that there was a particular chance (for Port Vale late on), but everyone gets a bit on edge towards the end, with them having a corner and a free-kick, but if we’d have scored another couple of goals that wouldn’t have been too harsh on our opponents today.

“We had people running forward, driving at the defenders and both wide players were a constant threat. Kev (van Veen), after a difficult start to the game, got his goal and that seemed to help his performance. He then had the free-kick that forced a really good save from the goalkeeper, while his deliveries from set-plays were really dangerous and he helped set up what proved to be the winning goal.

“Novs (Lee Novak) worked tirelessly yet again, and when you see someone working like that at the top end of the pitch like he does it’s a great example to follow. The last two performances have seen a real work rate and discipline too in terms of shape, and we’re starting to look a half-decent side. By no means am I saying we’ve cracked it but if we keep playing like we have done in the last two games then I have no doubt we’ll pick up more wins and make everyone a lot happier than we probably were a couple of months ago.”

Talking about the start to the game, he added: “If you look at the back four and what Jake (Eastwood) has had to do, I’m sure they will be a little bit disappointed that we haven’t kept a clean sheet, but they capitalised on a mistake from ourselves. I thought we were still the better side but we needed more quality on the ball and to take more care in possession. We certainly did that in the second-half and we managed to raise the tempo.”

When asked about Ntlhe’s winner, Hurst added: “We needed someone to get that winning goal, though I’m not that interested in who gets it, but more in how he does defensively, and his quality on the ball. Today he showed his spring, and was up there for corners. He got in an area that matters for the goal, getting to the ball first and it’s real competition in that left-back area. It was timely Kgosi coming back when he did and Junior (Brown) will probably, all being well, be available when we play in the league again (at Forest Green Rovers on December 7th). That’s going to be a good battle for that positon.”

He continued: “We have some tough games coming up with Forest Green away, Colchester at home, who I think are a good side and then a trip to our local rivals (Grimsby Town) before Christmas. We know we’re going to have to be very good at Blackpool on Wednesday (in the Leasing.com Trophy second round) with the squad they have there but we’ll go there looking to put in another good performance and go through.”

Both Matthew Lund and Dave Worrall were shown straight red cards for an altercation following the final whistle, and Hurst concluded:“I wasn’t sure what was happening in all honesty at the time, but I heard the noise to start with while shaking hands with some members of their backroom staff.

“I think it was instigated by the Port Vale player who put his head towards Lundy. I’m not sure, from what I’ve seen at least, that Lundy is really guilty. He was involved in an altercation as such but doesn’t throw a punch or anything like that.

“We’ll be looking at it with the relevant people at the club and decide whether to appeal. I think when you’re put in a position like that, it’s very difficult not to do what he’s done. You have to protect yourself and that involves maybe grabbing hold of the other person at the same time.

“Hopefully, we can win that appeal because it would be some disruption to a team that’s getting more settled, and it’s an area of the pitch we know we’re quite light in at the minute – albeit we will hopefully have some players back for the Forest Green game. It’s his second sending-off and could be a lengthier ban.”

See much more from Paul Hurst, Kevin van Veen and Kgosi Ntlhe on iFollow Iron. Click here to sign-up.


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