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Hill speaks following Port Vale away

29 January 2022

First team manager Keith Hill provided his reaction to iFollow Iron after United’s 1-0 loss away at Port Vale in League Two.

Hill began by speaking about the result: “I’m disappointed but optimistic in equal amounts. There was a lot of fight, a lot of spirit, and we played some good football at times in ridiculously bad weather conditions. I’m trying to build my squad of players that represent me and they did everything they possibly could today to try and get points against a very difficult opponent.

“We had two major opportunities against them, a free header in the first half, and the one in the second from Ty (Tyrese Sinclair). We’re looking to convert them and if you do then the result could have been different. To concede from a set play is really disappointing, beyond belief. It comes down to individual desire and responsibility to meet the challenges at set plays; you should be on high alert, ready, engaging with your opponent physically, and mentally switched on.

“We’ve let ourselves down again and that’s a bad trait to have.” 

He went on to speak about the performance: “We’ve done quite well but we ran out of a bit of steam. I had to make a necessary concussion substitute at half time with Ross Millen. We looked a bit leggy and that was a result of the effort we put in on Tuesday against Bristol Rovers.

“I made the changes to freshen up, and we had one or two opportunities but I believe we have to be better at set-plays. We have Liam Feeney now but we have to put their goalkeeper and the back four under more pressure with that type of quality coming into the box now. We just have to show that bit of belief to turn a corner. It’s been a really bad January from every perspective, but I’m trying to build - there’s no question about that.” 

Hill also spoke about the debutants: “They were good. It’s not about being a starter for me but about recruiting personalities, identity, desire and determination. Harry Lewis’ first 90 minutes were incredible. He’s got an incredible personality because he’s not a shrinking violet. He’s got a heart and he’s not going to hide behind the responsibilities or lack of. You need responsibility on the football pitch and he’s got it. He’s at a tender age but I trust him.

“With respect to players like Ty (Tyrese Sinclair), Feens (Liam Feeney), and Granty (Anthony Grant) - they will make us better and I’m trying to make us better. At times it’s not evident, but there’s a massive call for big change and I’m not going through all the hard work not to benefit from the changes that are necessary. I think everyone knows there are big changes that need to take place, and we’re in the process of trying to do that now.”

Finally, on the prospect of further additions, he said: “(The embargo) has been tough to work around, but we have to make sure we make this football club strong again, and no one should be able to take advantage of this football club; and I won’t let anyone as long as I’m managing.

“We want to make the squad even stronger over the weekend, and on Monday. The phone never stops and the door never closes. The wheel never stops turning unless you put the breaks on. We can’t put the breaks on.” 

See much more from Keith Hill and Liam Feeney on iFollow Iron.

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