Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Interviews

Maamria Focused On Getting An Important Result

5 December 2019

Head Coach Dino Maamria knows the importance of the fixture at the weekend to help his side move up the league table against a team in and around them.

Leyton Orient are the latest visitors on Saturday to Boundary Park, but Maamria has used the disappointment of last week to help his side focus on the task in hand.

"We were all gutted after Saturday's game. We obviously wanted to try and get as far as possible in the FA Cup but in the second-half against Burton we produced our best half of the season in terms of statistics. 

"Attacking third entry, chances, ball possession, pass completion but unfortunately we couldn't get that goal we deserved.

"So yes we will learn from the first-half as we weren't very good, in the second-half we were very good but we didn't score that goal we needed."

He added: "And that's the learning bit on how important it is to score first and we've seen that throughout the season when we've scored first we've always got a better chance of getting something out of the game.

"The focus this week has been really to dust ourselves down and get back to the league, because the league is the most important thing after all. Despite the rise in form and the points we're picking up but we're still in a position we don't want to be in.

"The Orient game is a huge game for us. A big game at home, I know they've got their problems and we're coming through the other side of our problems, so my focus has been to make sure we're ready to get three points on Saturday."

Although Orient only sit a place and a point above Latics, they are a side who are in a false position and offer threats, as well as coming into the game also wanting the three points heading into the busy festive fixture schedule.

"To be fair their results do not reflect their performance because I've been watching their previous games. In the Scunthorpe game they totally dominated and ended up losing it 2-0 so you sometimes don't get that rub of the green.

"Against Forest Green they lost 4-2 but that was not a 4-2 game. The first-half they were 3-0 down, I think in the second-half they totally dominated the game and at 3-2 they could've easily go on and got the equaliser, even when Forest Green scored the fourth they were still going forwards so they've got their threats there's no doubt about that. 

"They've also got some good players, got some experienced players at the level and it's going to be a difficult game for us. I've just told the players we can't afford to be less than 90% of our own performance level to get points in this league so we have to be at it."

Maamria faced Leyton Orient earlier on in the season whilst at Stevenage and is using the experience to his advantage heading into the encounter.

"They've got the same players, they change their shape every now and then. Sometimes they go to a back three, sometimes they go 4-3-3, sometimes they go 4-4-2. 

"But the personnel we know them pretty well, we know what kind of threats they give the opposition. They're the same team that I more or less played them earlier in the season and like I said it's going to be a tough game no question about it but it's about us and what we're going to do on the day.

"We've got to keep improving and make sure we learn from the mistakes we've made and make sure we keep doing things better. Even Saturday as good as we were in the second-half we still didn't hit the back of the net and that's something we've been working on."

Whilst Maamria's side have had another full week to prepare, The O's had a midweek fixture but was quick to say the preparation has been done well before that fixture.

"I always watch the opposition of their last three or four games. I know them pretty well, we've got a good idea about them but I'm not sure what team they're going to put out there.

"We never get carried away with those midweek games because they might play a totally different team. 

"Our work has been done, we've got one more training day on Friday where we might tweak one or two things and make sure we make a final decision on the starting eleven and tweak a little bit of the team shape in certain areas we need to improve on.

"But more or less we know what we're going to face."

With Oldham Athletic out of all the knockout competitions, the focus for the remainder of the campaign will be on the Sky Bet League Two fixture list.

"It definitely does help. As we've seen the squad has been stretched of late and we've had to add last week to make sure we are ready for the very busy December Christmas period.

"I think as much as we are gutted about the FA Cup, I think at least that gives us a little bit more breathing space in terms of let's focus on the league now. We've got one competition to focus on and let's make sure that we keep improving every week and climb that table."

He continued: "There is no question that we've been improving. It's obvious we're in a much better position than we were a few weeks ago. The team are picking up a lot more points and we look a lot more organised, we look more solid as well. 

"We're not conceding as many goals as we have been, we look a threat going forwards so it's work in progress, obviously we've got the same personnel more or less. 

"The two I added last weekend they'll give us something different. With Missilou carrying an injury we had to make sure that we got cover in the middle of the park and with Akpo coming in he's different to Scott Wilson and Desire. He's a target man, he's fit, he's mobile, he knows the level very well. 

"So those two give us experience at the level and that's what we need at this stage of the season."

Heading into last weekend, two new faces were added on short-term contracts in the form of experienced heads David Jones and Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, with the Head Coach providing an update on the reasoning.

"I've been after Jones for a while. He had a few options, Plymouth they were willing to take him and one or two other clubs. 

"But he came in here, spent a couple of days with us and was impressed with what we're doing and he wanted to be a part of it.

"It's quite a coup for us. Although financially it didn't cost the club that much because he's a good guy and just wants to play football and put himself in the shop window. It's a short-term contract and hopefully we can earn a long-term one.

"In terms of his quality there's no question about it. He's played all of his football in the Championship and Premier League. He's very fit for his age, he's well thought of in the dressing room, has a good personality and good character.

He also commented: "Whilst Akpa Akpro, again he's been around the leagues for a long time. He's had experience with Shrewsbury, Tranmere, with many English clubs and knows what the English game needs.

"He's more of a solid centre forward where he can get a hold of the ball. It's different to the type of centre forward that we've got.

"So both of them I'm very happy with and I'm pleased the Chairman backed me to get those two and despite our budget being stretched to the max, what we've got to do is make sure we repay the Chairman with performances and results going forwards."


Advertisement block