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Interviews

Maamria “We've Got To Be At Our Best”

3 October 2019

Oldham Athletic Head Coach Dino Maamria is expecting a tough challenge this weekend when high flying Cheltenham Town visit Boundary Park on Saturday.

Maamria is into his second full week in charge at Latics and he believes that there is signs of improvements showing already.

“A lot of work has been done so far, I'm getting into the players a bit more and we try to replicate what we work on in training in a match.” He said.

“It's a work in progress, but I think we're in a much better state this week than last week, so hopefully that will reflect on the performance come Saturday.”

Latics come into the game off the back of that defeat away at Carlisle United last weekend.

Maamria says that lessons need to be learnt from that game, but he firmly believes that it will not define the team come the end of the season.

“You've got to stay level-headed; I believe in a process where you've got to carry on doing certain things regardless of previous results.” He commented.

“Where we finish at the end is not because we lost to Carlisle, it'll be because of what we do through the season.

“I will always look at certain things with and without the ball, what we did well and what we can do better at.

“It's obvious from the weekend that we weren't good enough, it was a sloppy start and the message was clear looking back at the video.

“When you go away from home you can't give teams a chance to score early on, they were a team low on confidence but scoring early allowed them to shut shop.

“In our squad we haven't got a big physical centre forward who we can throw in and change the game plan, but we are where we are.

“I like to change preparation whether we're home or away but last week I felt I needed to see how things worked first so we'll learn from this going forward.

“We've spoke about it, we put it to bed and move forward onto Saturday to see if we can put those things right against Cheltenham to get a positive result.”

Latics had a slight change to preparation this week as they took on a strong Burnley side in a behind closed doors friendly.

It was a chance for a few members of the squad to get some minutes under their belt with Tomas Egert featuring as he continues a comeback from injury.

The Latics Head Coach said it was a useful exercise for a number of reasons and he’s hoping more will be arranged across the season.

“There's a lot of players here, so it's hard to see all of them in training because in training you tend to focus on the 14 or so that'll play.

“It was a great chance to speak to Burnley and arrange this game and it was a good game to watch.

“They played a very strong side, we unfortunately lost 5-3 but the lads worked really hard and showed a lot of quality.

“It was good for us to go to those types of games against a Premier League opposition and it was an exercise that benefited everybody.

“The biggest positive was Tomas (Egert) played 60 minutes and he looked solid, so hopefully he'll now come back into the fold because it was his first game for a long time.

“Jonny Smith played, he looked a threat throughout, and Chris Eagles got some minutes under his belt.

“There were lads that needed the game time and they all came through it unscratched which is good news.”

Our next opponents Cheltenham are ticking along nicely in Sky Bet League Two as they currently sit third in the table.

They are the top scorers in the league so far which shows the threats they’ll bring to Boundary Park, but Maamria is confident his squad can exploit The Robins’ weaknesses.

“We've got to be at our best, Cheltenham have been together for a while now as a squad.

“They play a certain way and it's been pretty much the same starting XI each week and they've kicked on and look really strong.”

“They've had some terrific results and they have threats going forward there's no doubting that, but they have weaknesses as well.

“What we'll try to do is exploit those weaknesses and it's a home game, in front of our fans on a great surface, so we'll try to do what we do best which is dominate the ball and cause them trouble in the areas they're weak in.

“It's a game that we're looking forward to, but we have to be a lot better than last weekend, a better performance and then the result will look after itself.”

Latics have no fresh injury concerns, however Gary Woods is expected to be ruled out with a groin injury he aggravated at Carlisle, Maamria confirmed.

“Gary (Woods) felt his groin at Carlisle, we've got one or two with knocks, but hopefully they'll be ok, and we'll find out Friday how everyone is.”


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