Manager excited by Bulls clash
Excited by his first home game in charge, manager John Still has been happy with the way his side have taken to his methods during his first week at the helm.
Hereford United are the visitors to Kenilworth Road on Saturday as the Hatters look to begin a run that would see them gatecrash the Play-Offs.
It’s their first of nine home games in the next 12 and the boss will not be cutting any corners in his quest to improve the Town’s league position.
“I've been pleased with how they have worked,” said Still,
“They have worked tremendously hard and two away games with no goal conceded. I'm happy. If anything, our work has been defensive, it's been looking at defending. We looked at some attacking options today [Thursday], it's just a case of building it.
“There are no short measures to it, and there is a process you have to go through. You can't short cuts and move on to the next step until you are happy with where you are. How long does that take? You never know with different groups of players, even at the same club. As time moves on and the group evolves, players move on and you’re working with a newer group, some groups pick it up relatively quickly, some take longer.
“That doesn't mean that people that pick it up early become the best at it. It's like a job, you go to a new job, you haven't got a clue what your doing then one day you come in and everything is in place, the penny drops.
“Everyone is working as hard as I would like them to work, everyone is focusing on what I want them to do, everyone is concentrating on what we're asking from them and that's all I can ask for.”
Many have spoken about Still's approach to the squad having the desired effect already in some areas but the former Daggers boss is committed to finding the best option for his players and building step by step to accomplish the club project.
“I think you can modify your stance, you look at players as well, they're not set in stone, the format is, the idea is of what you’re trying to achieve is,” he said
“You can look at players in training and maybe doing it 'this' way ain't quite for him so you look at 'that' way. You look at your players and with the greatest respect the ones with more ability can accomplish more, that doesn't make them better at what they do it just gives you more ways to go about it.
“It's easy to say what you want them to do but there's many different ways of doing that. You can say to them I want you to go out there and I want you to cross the ball, well you can drive it, you can float it, you can fade it, you can bend it, you can dip it, you can swerve it, you can smash it but they are all crosses. Someone might be better doing it a different way than who you’re looking at so that itself play a part once you see what they are capable of.”
The Hatters defensive frailties have cost them prior to Still's arrival and the new manager was quick to implement his ideas on the back line issues culminating in two, back to back clean sheets. The recent arrival of Jake Goodman will bolster his defensive options. Still commented on his instant attention on the Town defensive structure and putting in place a formula to resurrect the stability.
“It's the first place to look,” he said about the defensive set-up.
“I think that's the place to start, when you put the first brick down that first brick has to be right for the second brick to go on it. The defence is that first brick, it always is, you have to work very hard and we have made a small, small step with that, nowhere near what we will be looking for. That is really where the first step has got to be.”
Hereford's arrival to Bedfordshire on Saturday will mark Still's first appearance in the dugout as Hatters boss in front of a rapturous home crowd and he, more than anyone, is relishing kick off.
“I'm really looking forward to it, I'm quite excited by it.” he said beaming.
“I'm the sort of person who loves the games, it's good what we do here in training but I love the games good, bad or indifferent. Every game tells you something, it tells you the good things and it tells you the bad things, so the first home game, let it roll on I'm really looking forward to it.
“It's a good game for us to play. Playing in front of your own people who have an expectancy, it's fantastic. That for me is the best thing to have, people that want you to win and are desperate for you to win. If you want to play for Manchester United, don't expect to go there and lose games and them to be happy because they won't be. You've got to go there and win games and make them happy, that's the job so that's what we have got to do.
“My job is to create a winning, ambitious, hungry, dedicated football team that this football club and its supporters will be proud of - that is my aim. I can't legislate for how supporters want to support their team that's out of my control, you can only control the controllables.
“I hope by producing the product that then gives the supporters what they want. I can't control 100 per cent of the supporters I can control 100 per cent of the footballers and not the supporters. In my experience if they see a hungry, ambitious, winning football team it's very unusual to see people unhappy, someone will be but that's life.”