Manager on TuesdayTuesday, 3rd May 2022
03/05/22: JH - “I just feel there`s a good vibe and a good energy in amongst it. We need to take that into the game on Wednesday."
Queen’s Park include much in their game that John Hughes wishes his Dunfermline side would do. He feels that if they play with the intensity and energy that they are capable of, and do that for 90 minutes, then the football will take care of itself. He also warned that if that was absent and they were not at it, they leave themselves vulnerable:-
“I’m really impressed with Queen’s Park. I think they’ve got some really good footballers, guys who have been about, a few ex-Dunfermline players. They’ve got nothing to lose. What have they got to lose? We’ve got everything to lose. So, with that alone, you need to be able to handle that and embrace that.
“They get after it, they chase lost causes, there’s a right good spirit amongst them. It doesn’t have to be pretty at times. They’re well organised.
“It’s a lot of the stuff that we do as well, but I just feel that at times if it’s not pretty then we need to be better at the other stuff. That’s working hard and even at times, and it will happen on Wednesday night, if they’ve got the ball and we’re under the cosh - then we need to stand up to it.
“It’s coming your way, there’s no point in hoping it doesn’t. So embrace it. When it comes your way you need to make sure you’re winning your battles and your one-on-one battles. If we can do that over most of the pitch then you’re hoping we can win the game.
“Two or three months ago we were bottom of the league. Now we’re still in the league, fighting in the play-offs. We’ve given ourselves a fighting chance, we’ve got that, so go and grab it.
“You don’t have to have any more motivation. If motivation’s not there, in terms of this great club, Dunfermline and the size of the club and to keep it in the league, I don’t think you should be a professional footballer. You don’t have to go looking too far for motivation. That alone is enough.”
Last time at Firhill the gaffer changed his team selection with the pitch in mind. Would he be tempted to take that into consideration again?
"It`s coming into our thoughts. No disrespect to anyone, it`s a little bit disappointing that you`re playing such an important game on that kind of surface. It`s not a great advert for Scottish football, playing in the play-offs, so somebody has to put their hand up to that, but it is what it is.
"If I was Queen`s Park, would I want to take the game somewhere else? Certainly not. It`s the same for two teams. I watched Queen`s Park there on Saturday, and they are brave, they get on it, they pass it, and they try and play their football.
"It`s the same for both sides. No excuses, we`re not looking for an excuse, we`ve just got to bring it on. I`ll pick the best team that I think`s going to do the job. No doubt there will be one or two that`s upset, and I`ve said to them you have to be the best teammate.
"It`s not a case of throwing your toys out the pram. It`s not about you at this moment in time, it`s about the team, it`s about the club.
"There`s all that positive stuff that we`re putting in there, and we`ve had a great response off them. They trained fantastic this week, really good. There was a good buzz about them, a good energy about them, and you could just sense that there`s a feeling of `right, come on then, we need to get this job done`.
"But we`re under no illusions. It`s not going to be easy, but everything at stake alone, that brings it down to a level playing field. Let’s be at our best individually and see what happens. It may be the one that handles the pressure the best, and hopefully with our experience, it`s us.”
What John Hughes learned from his play offs experience with Raith Rovers in 2017 that they play offs can very easily go either way and it is all about standing up, being a good teammate and playing with a real togetherness.
“There’s no point in looking forward, we just need to look at the next two games. What will be, will be. We’ve given ourselves a chance to stay in this league, let’s go and grab it. There’s no point looking beyond Queen’s Park because I’ve already warned them there’s a ‘game on’ here. Trust me, there is a game on.”
The objective on Wednesday has to be to secure as good a result as possible to bring back to East End Park for Saturday’s second leg, John continued:-
"I`ve played as a player, and as a manager, I`ve been in Europe. I`ve been involved in these two leg affairs, but we`re not going there with any kind of defensive mindset. We`re going there to try and give Queen`s Park a game, win the game and see where it finishes.
"It might take a mistake, that’s football, these things happen. Sometimes it goes for you, or it goes against you, but if we`re at it and everyone`s at their best, then I`m hoping that`s good enough.
"Sometimes we`ve been at our best and the three points have not come our way. That`s part and parcel of football, but never be afraid to go and express yourself, and try and be the best that you can. If you go and do that, that`s all I can ask of them.
"I could sense their disappointment after the match on Friday night. You have to get a feel for it, as a manager, you have to go in there, you have to know your audience and know your dressing room.
"I knew that the play offs were coming up so there wasn`t too much said, but over the last few days, I just feel there`s a good vibe and a good energy in amongst it. We need to take that into the game on Wednesday."
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