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Interviews

Maamria Pleased With Second-Half Comeback

22 December 2019

In what would be seen as an important three points, the Head Coach gave his honest assessment following the 2-1 victory over Crawley Town.

Coming into the fixture, Maamria made it clear that a win was needed and was pleased his side got the job done after going in the break behind.

"Well the important thing was to win. It was almost like a cup game, a game we couldn't afford not to win.

"We've won four games all season in the league before this one and I've been highlighting that point to my players before the game.

"Despite the change in Head Coach, I gave them ownership in terms of they need to take responsibility. But four victories in the league in five months is not good enough.

"So my emphasis was all about winning and we managed to do that."

He continued: "I thought we started ok in the first-half, we had a few attempts at their goal but I was disappointed the way we conceded the goal though because it was their first attack actually with their full-back driving on and we sat off them a little bit.

"We didn't show that intensity to close the spaces down and to concede that sloppy goal was really disappointing.

"At half-time I got into one or two. We needed to be better, we needed to play with more purpose, on the front-foot and I thought the lads showed a fantastic attitude in the second-half.

"They stood up to be fair. I put a lot of pressure on them at half-time and I've told them that's my job, I've got to pressure on and they've got to produce more than that.

"And they did in the second-half, we scored two good goals, the disappointing bit was we should've scored the third or fourth and we didn't.

"Because sometimes they could've had a chance at the end there and if they scored to make it two all it would have been a travesty, because we dominated.

"We had twenty shots, nine on target and really you need more than two goals to win games like this and especially today with the chances we've had we should have been more clinical to score that third or fourth goal."

In a game of two contrasting halves, Latics came out on the front foot and did what was needed, scoring two goals in quick succession which was pleasing for the Head Coach after some home truths in the dressing room.

"I was clear with them, it was up to them. You've got eleven versus eleven there you've got to show everybody.

"I don't mind the players coming up short as long as they give everything they've got. I put pressure on one or two players, you're supposed to do what you're supposed to do. If you're a defender win your headers, win your duels. If you're a forward you've got to create and score goals.

"And one or two stood up and be counted. One of them is Maouche to be fair to him. I put a lot of pressure on him at half-time and in the second-half he was fantastic and scored one, should've scored two, but that's the pressure I want to put the players under."

He added: "They can take a lot of credit for that and learning as well because sometimes we go into games and we play too safe football. I don't want safe football, I want football on the front foot. 

"Especially our forward area we've got to be more expansive, we've got to be more aggressive and we've got to be more clinical. To do that, you've got to be committed whatever you do."

Maarmia had a few selection decisions to make ahead of the game with his injury list growing in the form of Jamie Stott and now David Jones, whilst Filipe Morais was unavailable due to being on loan from the Reds.

"Sylla came back in and kept himself fit over the past few weeks.To be fair he's been out of the team and took it well and came in and was solid. He did what he was supposed to do.

"I thought they were a lot of good performances though. As a team, Wheater stood up and was a man mountain at the back he made the difference in both boxes and that's what he's supposed to do.

"In the middle of the park Chris McCann was outstanding and I thought up front Desire and Jonny Smith were outstanding as well.

"I think as a team, overall, especially in the second-half we were very very good."

A change was also made in the first-half after finding his side a goal down and he was open and honest at the decision behind taking Akpa Akpro off.

"He wasn't good enough. I've told him that.

"You can't turn up and produce what he produced. I'm here to win football matches, I'm not here to carry passengers and if any player turns up with that type of performance, you can see the frustration from everybody and my job is to make that change.

"I've got to say how it is and he's got to be better than that."

The main positive to take from the Crawley victory would be the character of the team to come back and get a confident boosting win that will only help with the hectic festive schedule.

"I just told them that's what they're capable of. When you play on the front foot, when you commit to what you do you get your rewards.

"We've lost one game in the league for a while which was against Swindon, so we've been ok, but I don't want to be ok we're so much better than that and we've got to make sure we show that every game.

"What's important now is we got to rest and come back for what is a huge game against Morecambe away as they also got a good result. So we've got to make sure we're 100% for that game."


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