Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 18th Nov 2021

18/11/21: JH - getting the messages through and understanding the values and standards

Pars new boss John Hughes is refusing to allow the win at Inverness to be attributed to his input:-

“All the credit goes to the two coaches, to Steven and to Shieldsie. They are absolutely fantastic, these two guys are in first thing in the morning and still there last thing at night. So that win is for them.”

John Hughes did admit to visiting the Dunfermline dressing room at half time:-

“I did a wee bit of team talk at half time but the message that we put to them was simple. It is probably the rules of the club, in terms of the tactics, picking the team, all the technical stuff and all the tactical stuff, making a bad pass, missing a chance. That’s okay I will take full responsibility and then it is my team. In terms of errors and making effort that is the players’ responsibility.

“We put that on to them and we also knew with the (lack of) confidence it also brings pressure. We had to address that is it a fear or a challenge? If you see it as a fear then you will not produce but if you see it as a challenge then you overcome the fear. The mental side is massive.

“Credit to the players for taking it on board, sticking together and implementing it. I am absolutely delighted for them. Also I have to mention the supporters. I will not sit and patronise them but there was a great wee episode on the way up to Inverness where one of the buses flew past us and they were all out.

“Then twenty minutes further on when they had pulled in for a pit stop and we flew past them. You say to yourself, you can see the passion in them so for them to be there to support the players and get that victory makes the whole weekend. That is what it does for the community and for the club. It has to be like that.

“I think the players are all saying ‘right, I have got that’ because the message is loud and clear. That is what you are playing for, you have to play with that pride. It is all the same messages, I might try and mix it up by telling it in different ways but it is the same message. I might put sugar on the top, I might cuddle them or I might kick their backside - it is all the same messages and it is about sticking together, giving it everything that you have got and I saw that there on Saturday.”

The manager stressed that no one will be getting carried away on the strength of one long awaited league win:-

“We are where we are for a reason, and it’s my job to find it. It’s my job to give them confidence and momentum. You can stimulate them on the training pitch but we’re under no illusion how difficult it’s going to be.

“Then, we need to get that first win at home. I want this place to be absolutely jumping, I want to entertain the supporters but we’re a long, long way from doing that. Right at this moment in time, it’s still the small steps - stick together, hopefully get that first win at home on Saturday and keep building on it.

“There’s short-term, mid-term and long-term aims. We all know what the long-term is, to get the club back into the Premiership, but the short-term is just too keep a clean sheet.

“The messages, some of it’s machine gun, you’re firing it out there and it’s maybe too much. Constantly the same message, so eventually everyone will get it and they know what the standards are.

“Football is such a short career, it evolves, and if it’s not you it’s someone else. My message to the players is, ‘make sure it’s you. If you’ve got that jersey, no-one is getting it off you, no-one.’

“To make sure that happen you have to be the best professional, not just at the club but you have to live your life like a true professional and live for your football 24/7. That’s the values I’m trying to set at the club.

“There’s some good boys here. They want everything I’m talking about and it’s up to them to take it and own it and lead it, and go and deliver it.

“The problem is you’ve got one or two duckers and divers and rogues, that I love - because I was a wee bit like that myself. I love to get in amongst these guys, because they’re the special ones that if you can get to them then they’ll lead from the front and the rest will follow.”

On Saturday Ayr United are the visitors to East End Park, they have lost only once in their last seven visits but are on a run of five matches without a win and lost 4-0 to Partick Thistle at home last weekend. The manager noted:-

“We’re up against an Ayr United team that will be really hurting, with a really shrewd manager in Jim Duffy. Although we are where we are in the league, I’ve still got that sneaky feeling that this is everyone’s cup final when they come to Dunfermline.

“I want to embrace that, I don’t want to shy away from it, I don’t want it to frighten us. We have to say, ‘okay, you’re coming here but you’re going to know you’re right in a game’. Hopefully that starts on Saturday.

“I know there’s going to be ups and downs, ups and downs. It’s never always the way you want. A lot of what I’m talking about is an appreciation of the club you’re at, the trust in your team-mates and loving what you’re doing for a living. But also an appreciation of the size of the club, and the supporters.”

John Hughes should have a full squad to select from for Saturday. Rhys Breen was forced off at Inverness in 84th minute but the manager was confident his 21 year old defender would be fighting for his place on Saturday:-

“He’s the one guy I have got in my sights! He is going to be worked like he has never been worked before because he is a centre half. He is a lovely big guy, he has a real chance in the game.

“He will be okay, even with that knock. He was saying to me earlier in the week, ‘just tell the physio that I want to train’. He’s a good guy, he brings a smile to my face.”

Manager speaks to Jordan Burt on ParsTV

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