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Interviews

Manny Onariase: Pressure is a privilege

11 December 2020

Defender Emmanuel Onariase is not underestimating the task at hand the Iron face being favourites against Southend United on Saturday.

The 24-year-old joined from National League side Dagenham & Redbridge in August and was forced to miss the start of the season due to a hernia operation, but he has since made an impression as a regular in the centre of defence and been a pivotal part in the Iron’s recent upturn in fortunes.

Speaking to iFollow Iron ahead of Saturday’s 390-mile round trip, he said: “This is the first time we are favourites and that there is a lot of pressure on us to win but pressure is a privilege.

“We have worked hard to get there so embrace it, but we don’t underestimate any opponent. We go into every single game with the same mentality whether you are top of the league or bottom of the league.”

“We don't underestimate no one nor do we respect anyone, in the sense that we are just going to sit off them and let them play.”

Onariase has many reasons to be positive after both captaining the side and chipping in with his first two goals for the club in the last month, though he reflected on Tuesday nights defeat against Colchester with bitter disappointment after Neil Cox’s side failed to make the most of a dominant display.

He added: “Everyone’s really frustrated with the outcome but we can’t do anything about it now, we’ve just got to keep on going forward and take the positives out of the game.”

“It is annoying the manner in which we conceded. They literally had one chance that I can recall and they scored from it.

“Our mindset is so resilient, we hate conceding goals even if we are winning 5-0.”

Such an approach has been rewarded with only five goals conceded in the last seven games by United, winning four games in that time.

Reflecting on the recent defensive improvement, he continued: “It’s testament to how hard the team has been working, everyone only applauds the defence for keeping clean sheets but we defend as a team and it starts from the front.”

“We’ve progressed so well from a couple of months ago.”

Three points in Essex would earn a fourth consecutive away victory and in turn equal last season’s winning tally away from the Sands Venue Stadium.

It’s a gruelling festive fixture list ahead though as the Iron head into their fourth of eight December fixtures, and despite recent injury troubles Onariase is relishing the opportunity ahead of potentially his eleventh consecutive start in Sky Bet League Two.

“It’s every footballer's dream to play week in, week out and that’s what you aim to be and what you wish for when you get into playing football,” he stated.

“I’m feeling okay and just managing my body to make sure I feel 100%.”

“I’m doing work off the pitch and the management and coaches are looking after me which is good.”

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