Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 23rd Sep 2021

23/09/21: PG - “There are a lot of things that we still have to work on and still get better at that is for sure.”

The Pars manager Peter Grant reflected on last Saturday’s match where he felt that it was paramount to “stop the rot of defeats”.

“We didn’t concede a silly goal which was vital and there were things that you are always looking at that as a coach you are not happy with. Getting a clean sheet and the boys endeavour to try and make sure that happened and create the chances that I felt we should have scored with, that was important.

“We gave a couple of chances up as well. From our own playing perspective there was a slackness and these are the things that we have been punished for in the last few weeks. To be perfectly honest with you, I thought we played a lot better and controlled the game at Ayr United believe it or not.

“In football if you keep a clean sheet you always have a chance. We did that very well and they were really diligent in their work. But we expect to do things better and there were things in the game where I felt we shot ourselves in the foot with the chances that we gave up.”

Peter maintains that good chances have been passed over in every single league game:-

“If you don’t take your own big chances at important times that puts extra pressure on defenders. You have to make sure that the concentration levels are there but it would be nice to go in front and stay in front. The pleasing thing was the resilience they showed not to concede. I think that was a big step forward for sure.”

The performance against Caley Thistle was better but the league position is far off what he was seeking when the league season kicked off at Cappielow on the last day of July:-

“I have said from day one, if we are not up there challengingly that is our responsibility. I said at the start that we should be up there, going everywhere expecting to try and win.

“That is so so important but everybody in this division is capable of doing that. Teams have proven that so far. If you are not on your match, you don’t concentrate and you give silly opportunities away which we have done, you will be punished.

“Every team is capable of doing that to you. I know that we have quality players but we have to cut out the silly mistakes. I am really stretched to say that any one goal against us was a good goal and not an error from our point of view.

“A lot of the goals that we have conceded are down to our own mismanagement of the match or a situation that has been very very disappointing but I thought on Saturday that they did that very well.”

The gaffer felt that the clean sheet was deserved reward for hard work and their resolve to do what it takes not to concede and to eradicate silly mistakes.

“In saying that Fôn had a double save, deflected in the same movement into his feet but I thought that was a big moment but we had big moments ourselves. If we had taken our opportunities we would definitely have won the game. That was the disappointment but the pleasing thing was the fact that we got a clean sheet.”

As the defence went to a back four, Vytas Gašpuitis and Paul Watson were re-united as a central defensive partnership, starting a game together for just the third time in three months. The manager said that he was very pleased with the back line:-

“They had a better shape to it in respect that they played closer together. I have seen many times trying to defend the full length of the pitch. Unfortunately football is not like that and you have to work in relation to the ball and I don’t think we do that particularly well.

“Sometimes a different shape gives you that bit of freedom for your full back to go and be on the front foot so there is a gap filled. You have to do that. People think that you are being clever when you are changing shapes but I think it was the famous Brian Clough quote ‘shapes don’t win you football matches, football players do’.

“There were things on Saturday that I wasn’t happy with but you get away with it because it was a clean sheet. My job is to make sure that they see the things that didn’t go well and they gave up chances or things that didn’t happen that could have happened.

“Our job as coaches is to make sure that we point these out. There are a lot of things that we still have to work on and still get better at that is for sure.”

The patience shown by the home support was greatly appreciated on Saturday with the gaffer adding:-

“When you don’t play well you deserve the criticism, I have never shied away from that. That is realist, that is football, that is life in general. I don’t like criticism, I don’t want criticism. I want the team to be playing well and winning.

“It was fantastic at the weekend and I said that to the boys. I have been here many many times whether as an opposition player, an opposition manager - the supporters are very very supportive if you give them something to sing about and support you on. If you give them endeavour and remember that it is not the name on the back that they are playing for, it is the badge on the front. It is the same at every single football club.

“As long as you give them endeavour, commitment and the quality shines through people will always be your supporters. If they feel as if you are not doing that then your deserve the criticism that comes you way.

“I was very very pleased with the support that we got and hopefully we can change a draw now into a victory. That is what we are looking to do to make them happier. They want to come and see their team winning a game of football and hopefully we can do that sooner rather than later.”

Ninth placed Hamilton Academical will provide the next test when the side that was playing Premier League football last season visit East End Park. Peter views the match as an opportunity but he stressed that we have to be respectful of Hamilton:-

“I watched their game on Saturday and they could have been four up in the first half. There are fine lines in this league, they are a very good footballing side, they create chances, they have got good players, a mixture of experience and youth. That is what they have built their ethos on at their club - bring on good players and then sell them on. They keep some round about them and add a bit of experience here and there.

“They have done that very well over the years and with the change in management after Brian Rice stepping down their style is very similar.”

The manager revealed the reasons why Rhys Breen (pictured above) has still not made his Dunfermline debut and why his appearances have been restricted to the bench in the Premier Sports Cup against Rangers and in the first two league matches.

“He has had a bit of a nightmare. It was ten days off in isolation when he came back from America then after the Rangers game he felt a tweak on his hamstring when doing the work after the game.

“That just got progressively worse so he was out with that. Then as sure as fate he caught covid and just when he was ready to come back one of his family members caught covid so he was out again. It was nearly a month back to back isolation for him.

“He is on his way back now, working hard and it is unfortunate for him because he is a top talent - quick and strong and has experience of playing in this division last year. He is working really hard with Tommy Scanlon and Paul Green to try and get back to his fitness levels. Hopefully we can get him back within the training group within the next couple of weeks.”

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