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Interviews

Maamria Looking To Bounce Back

20 December 2019

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Latics take on Crawley Town at Boundary Park tomorrow and Head Coach Dino Maamria gave his thoughts ahead of the game.

Maamria was left frustrated about last week’s loss against Swindon Town but believes that his side now know what they need to do better to pick up all three points.

"Well, I think that the biggest thing that we took a lot of positives from the Swindon game.

"We spoke a lot on Monday when we came back about what we needed to win that game and I think that the only thing that we needed really is that self-belief and confidence to go and score when we're on top.

"I thought we got them exactly where we wanted to, and I thought that we lacked that clinical edge and that belief in the attacking third.

He added: "I think that was the difference between the two teams so the focus this week is about creating that belief, how can you get that confidence, how they can take those chances and make half chances proper chances.

"Also just how to attack a team and to believe that we can go to top of league and beat them at their home. So, we took a lot from that obviously we always reflect, and we are thinking about what we need to do better."

He continued: "We're back at home now and we need to get back to winning ways at Boundary Park and winning at home is different to winning away at Newport and Newport are different opposition to Crawley, so the focus now is the next five games in two weeks because they're crucial fixtures."

The Head Coach states that this run of games will be tough for the players and explained that there are a few injuries currently within the squad.

"We had an extensive meeting on Monday, every now and again I'll have a review of the month and where we're going and I thought that it was important for us not just to look back at the Swindon game, but to look forward at the next five games because the games are going to come thick and fast and I've got to make sure that the players mindset is focused in this huge period.

"Like I said, I think that it's a big opportunity for us to pick up a lot of points and put us in a comfortable position.

"In the week, the squad players that haven't been playing, played a game against Burnley and it was useful for those lads to get 90 minutes again.

"I've done that in preparation because I might need three of those players in this critical period so I've got to make sure that they're fit as well.” He commented.

"The squad is quite light in terms of numbers because David Wheater is struggling with his back, Jonny Smith is struggling with his hamstring, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro has been sick, David Jones got a knock on Saturday and Jamie Stott is out for a few weeks, so I've got to make sure as well that I do constructive work especially the technical side of the game that we need to get better."

Maamria claims that he likes this consecutive run of games and thinks that it can benefit Latics this Christmas.

"I actually like those consecutive games because the turnover of games keeps you focused and fresh, but I'll always take one game at a time.

"Yes, the batch of five games in that two week period and you've got to plan well for them, you've got to make sure that your training schedule is the right one for the players, you've got to give the players enough breathing space as well and it's just about keeping them ready for those games.

"I've done the physical work with the players in the past few weeks, where we had free weeks, now it's really about focusing on the technical and organisation part of the game, but we take it one game at a time.

John Yems has recently returned to Crawley Town as Head Coach and Maamria believes that they have a good squad which should be doing better.

"They've had a change in management, they've been conceding a lot of goals and they've been struggling so the new Head Coach has gone in there and has built a solid base and has gone back to 4-4-2 and 4-4-1-1.

"He is trying to keep clean sheets and they got solid clean sheets in his first two games and I think that their front four can be a real handful on their day so we've got to watch out for that as well.

"I think that they'll be organised as they've got some quality players at this level and they're underachieving for some reason and we've got to be wary of them, but we don't want to complicate it too much. We've just got to free our mind and go and attack the game."

The 48 year-old also reflected on the improvement of the players since his arrival in September.

"I look back at when I first came in and I think two things that I needed to get better which were build a bit of resilience in the team because we were conceding a lot of late goals as we were losing games late on and get some fitness into them and I don't think anyone would look at us and say that we're not a fit team.

"We're a different outfit now, we look more resilient and we look fitter and stronger, but we're nowhere near where we need to be, and we've still got a lot to do and that's why I'm here."

During the game against Swindon, Zak Mills dislocated his shoulder in the second-half and played on for the rest of the game for the benefit of the team and Maamria states that the type of character that he wants in his side going forwards.

"I don't think that Zak was playing at the start of the season and I know him pretty well and he's a solid League Two player and he's one of the better ones.

"That's what you get when I speak about character and personality, he's strong enough mentally and he knows his state of mind and he carried on the game despite dislocating his shoulder.

"He has trained this week and should hopefully be okay for the weekend and they're the type of characters I think Oldham Athletic are pleased to have and that's the type of team that we're trying to build."


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