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Interviews

Maamria Proud Of Fightback

3 November 2019

Head Coach Dino Maamria was proud of his players who fought back in the closing stages to score two goals and gain a point on home soil.

Against a tough and in-form Northampton team, the Cobblers could've been forgiven to think they were going to record their fourth successive 2-0 win in the league before the introduction of Scott Wilson who pulled one back, with Jonny Smith's cross going into the net shortly after to grab the equaliser much to the delight of the home crowd.

On the whole Maamria was pleased that his side got what it deserved for its efforts on the day.

"The draw is the least we deserved. Take out the first 10 minutes of the game, we totally dominated. We were unlucky not to score, the second goal against the run of play hurt us.

"But everyone here is seeing the type of team we're trying to build. The character,  personality and resilience of the team. This team a few weeks ago two-nil down would've lost that game three or four probably.

"Now we're not a team that will throw two-goal leads, we're a team that will now come back from two-nil against a big, good Northampton team that have been keeping clean sheets and that's the biggest positive."

He added: "We changed it a little bit. The subs came on and did fantastic. Scott Wilson and Maouche were instrumental and so was Zak [Emmerson]. I thought those three gave us energy going forwards and gave us a better option.

"Scott Wilson did what he was supposed to do, to run into the channels at the side of the centre backs and he got the deserved goal.

"We finished the game really strongly and unfortunately for Maouche because he's been having a lot of stick lately, he came on today and he changed the game and could've easily got the winner late on when their defender did well to stop it."

Another encouraging sign for Maamria's side was a second consecutive game without any bookings, an area of concern a few games ago along with the general fitness of the team. But now it looks like Latics are finishing games strongly and that is down to the work in between games behind closed doors.

"The big gains we've been talking about is discipline and probably fitness-wise. I think our discipline is getting better. Now fitness-wise we finished the game against Walsall off in the second-half, last week against Port Vale we should've won it in the second-half late on and also today in the last ten minutes we scored two goals.

"So they're the areas I've been working on in terms of the resilience of the team and the personality I keep talking about.

"We showed spirit and fight. And the opposition don't like it now. It's good to see because they've been used to nice and easy take your win, take three points and go away. Not anymore. 

"We fight, we scrap. We want to reflect that on our fans, who travel with numbers and back us all the time and then come here and back us all the time too and I hope the fans they saw something, a bit of fight and spirit back to Oldham Athletic."

Winger, Chris Eagles made a return to the starting eleven after showing glimpses this season of his quality on and off the ball, with the Head Coach acknowledging how important he is in his plans.

"Chris has been struggling with his niggles really with a few injuries but he's been clear the last two weeks. He had a good week in training and he gave me no option but to start him.

"He's been fantastic to be fair. Him and Chris McCann were the standout players. They don't deserve to be in a drawing team, they deserve to be in a winning team.

"But that's what those type of players can give us. They're total footballers, experienced, know what to do at the right times and they drive the team forward."

On the other end of the scale, 15 year-old striker Zak Emmerson continued to get more minutes under his belt in the football league and Maamria is excited with what the future holds for both the player and club.

"Zak will play without a shadow of a doubt. I came in on Tuesday night to watch the Youth Team and was so impressed with him, I was screaming to Danny Cadamarteri to take him off after 70 minutes because I wanted to save him. 

"Zak is a tremendous talent, I love his work rate. He works with the ball and without the ball. He's relentless and I love that and hopefully we'll get him off school one day a week next week so he can train with the First Team and hopefully be involved again next week."

As the game against Northampton came to a close it looked like Oldham would knick the three points but Maamria knows there's plenty of work to still do to turn the draws into wins but believes the team are heading in the right direction to do so.

"They were hanging on for the draw. Like I said, Maouche had a brilliant chance to work inside and then outside of the defenders and then hit it with his left foot, it was going in but their defender did well to clear it.

"What a fantastic finish that would be if we win that 3-2. Overall, we've got to take from it is we're building a good team, a resilient team. Never say die attitude and that's what we want to see.

"It's another step forward. It was always going to be a difficult game. The last three games have been difficult games and we came away with two draws and a win, it could've been better but it's not. We'll take that though now and build on it."


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