Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 9th Sep 2021

09/09/21: PG - “We will have to fight, scratch and battle - all the things that you have to do and not give up the stupid goals that we have been giving up consistently.”

The first part of the week hasn’t been great for the manager but he is now hoping that players out with illness will be back and has the two missing on international duty returning as well. Peter Grant gave assurances:-

“There are one or two carrying knocks who would have missed Saturday and who have missed the early part of the week. Now they are back, we’re more than comfortable with the numbers.

“One player picked up an injury at home, which you couldn’t write the script for! That would have ruled him out of the weekend, for sure, but that has settled down.

“Training-wise, it’s not ideal but the biggest disappointment is it’s on the back of a very poor result and performance. That’s the thing that’s been long drawn out more than anything else. You always want to get back on the horse as quickly as you can.”

The manager watched his next opponents Ayr United lose to Raith Rovers in midweek but he was already well aware of what to expect:-

“I know they are very well organised, they are a very competitive team with individual talents. As I keep saying most of the teams in this division are very similar to that. There are a lot of hard grafting teams who give their maximum and have guys who can change the game with a moment.

“We know how difficult every game is in this division and I watched a game with two different styles. That made it interesting and it was very competitive with two teams having a right good go at each other.

“I have seen them already this season so I know their players. Everybody knows most of the players in the division, it means when a manager selects a team on a Saturday you have a rough idea what sort of style or system that they are playing.

“You are more geared to watching individual players now than watching teams because some, if they make a decision on a certain player you know that they will play a certain way and vice versa. We are all aware of each other because we have played against each other so often and known each other as coaches, managers or players.

“The one thing that you always have to do is be able to compete. That has been the disappointing thing for us. We have shot ourselves in the foot far too often this season and we have to give ourselves a chance to compete. We are hoping that can change come Saturday.”

Asked about the break possibly being a chance for confidence to return to his side and especially for keeper Deniz Mehmet who had felt the defeat to Arbroath particularly badly, the gaffer stressed that confidence is the biggest thing in football.

“People say ‘oh he is a confidence player’ but every player is. There is no doubt of that. You want to be playing and making great saves if you are a goalkeeper and if you are a striker you want to be scoring goals. A midfielder wants to be doing your job and defenders are wanting clean sheets - all these things.

“We would say basics but when you say the word basic, what does it really mean? I think that is what you have to try to get into the individual - just do your job well. That is what it becomes, concentrate on doing your job well and that will look after itself.

“Nobody can hand you a plate of confidence, nobody does that. If that was the case we would all be fantastic every week. The one thing in football and the one thing as a football player is that you are going to make errors. It is what you do after you make an error is the most important thing.

“If I give the ball away I expect my teammate to win it back for me because it will maybe be me the next time having to dig him out of a hole. We have got to do that much better. I know that I have talented boys, I know that I have a very good side but what they have to do is to produce that and we have not produced that in our league form so far this season. There is no hiding from that.

“People say ‘what would you take on Saturday? A victory and not playing well?’ Yes I would, I wouldn’t tell you a lie, I would take a victory without playing well 100 per cent.

“The ideal scenario would be to go and play fantastically well and win but we are desperate to win the game, desperate to put in a performance and hopefully we can come away with a victory but we know that we will have to fight, scratch and battle - all the things that you have to do and not give up the stupid goals that we have been giving up consistently.”

Peter explained that the failure to win matches is all the more frustrating since he feels that he has a good group of players well capable of putting on performances to win matches.

“As I keep saying that has been the galling thing, I know how much they work and I know how much they battle for each other even on the training ground. I see it day in day out.

“Sometimes that is when I’m left scratching my head at the side of the pitch, watching what I’m watching at times because I know that is not what I see during the week. So I know that I have a fantastic group of boys, I really enjoy working with them and I see their attitude on the training pitch so I could never question that of them.

“I know what it is like, you take an extra touch when you are not playing particularly well or not getting the result. When you are playing exceptionally well, you don’t even think what you are doing. Our biggest problem is that we are taking care too much in certain aspects.

“I know that sounds crazy but I am talking about in the middle from middle to front, do we go for that pass or do we turn it down and play safe. When you are playing full of confidence you go for it anyway and then all of a sudden things happen for you.

“When you are not getting the results or you don’t think you are playing that well, you take that extra touch, think about it a little bit more and sometimes that can be your biggest problem. You have to play with that freedom but it is easy for me to say that to them.

“You have to play with that freedom and express yourself because the bottom line is, I pick the team. So at the end of the day I know that you are playing with that freedom and give the ball away trying to do the right thing. There is nothing you can do about that but what I do expect is when they do that the next guy tries to win it back then.

“That’s football, it never changed when I played, it has never changed to this day and it will never change for the next two hundred years. The pitch is still the same size, the lines are still the same - when you have not got the ball you have to work really hard to get it back. When you have got the ball, go and make it hard for the opposition and play well.

“Everybody should want the ball and I think it is easy to say but once you are over the white line you have to put that into practice. I know that I have got the players who are more than capable, we have just not put that into practice yet within our league performances. We have to try and get these early cup performances into league performances and if we can do that I will be more than happy.”

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