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Interviews

Maamria Pleased With Performance Overall

27 October 2019

Both teams had to settle with a point on the day, in a goalless encounter where the torrential rain subsided just before kick-off.

But Maamria was left thinking what could've been after performing well against a Vale side who are still unbeaten at home.

"I'm gutted we didn't get the three points because we outplayed them in every department. I thought we were outstanding. 

"We played around them all afternoon. We obviously know they're going to throw the big boys up front and long balls with Bennett and then Pope coming on.

"We contained that, I knew they were going to do that. And then I emphasised since the Tuesday game we have to get the ball down and play around them and we did that fantastically."

He added: "Probably the disappointing thing, we didn't have that conviction and belief in the final third to capitalise on the chances that we created. 

"But as a defensive unit I thought we were brilliant. It was our second clean sheet. As a team we worked really, really hard as a defensive unit and we were very good with the ball as well.

"I think the thing we'll be disappointed with is that final third in crucial moments of the game. If we look back, the biggest one would be Missilou in the 88th minute with three against one at the back post.

"They're the big ones and we don't want those moments to cost us. But we learn from it and like I said we've got a lot of young players around and we'll get better and better but it's a good point overall."

Naming an unchanged XI for the first time, the Head Coach is a big believer that making wholesale changes for the sake of it doesn't have the desired impact.

"I'm really not someone who picks and changes a lot. I believe the more the team is settled, the better the unit. They also learn their habits quicker. 

"You get that togetherness and understanding between the team. There has already been too many changes so I'll try and pick a settled side as much as possible.

"Having said that, that's what we've got. You've seen our bench, it's young again.

"It's no discredit. It's just a small squad that we've got here, they work their socks off as a unit, as a group. We're together, we're positive and things are changing for the better. It's a much better place now around the training ground and dressing room.

"There's a spirit growing and building and hopefully there is better things to come."

One area of change recently has been between the sticks with Zeus De la Paz, either side of his international call-up, commanding the number one spot with back-to-back clean sheets as well as some fine individual saves, showing why Maamria made the tough decision in the first place.

"My biggest call since I came here was leaving Gary Woods out. It was a difficult one but my gut instinct told me Zeus was in the right form to pick him and he's not let us down, he's been absolutely brilliant.

"Woodsy has been a great support to him as well. As a twosome the two goalkeepers have been together which is good to see. Woods is the biggest supporter of Zeus but Zeus has showed why I've picked him and he's been absolutely tremendous."

He continued: "It wasn't just him though. We defended on the front foot as a unit. I thought the back four looked more solid than ever before.

"We've been conceding a lot of goals as a team and that's the biggest area that I'm trying to work on at the training ground, day-in day-out, to make sure that we're solid defensively and we did that. So if we capitalise on our chances we'd have won the game.

"We had the majority of chances. I don't think Zeus in the second-half had to make a save. They put a few balls into the box which Jamie Stott and David Wheater defended with ease.

"Like I said, we played around them and I think they got away with it. If we just had that little bit of belief and conviction in the attacking third we'd have won the game with ease."

With four points from the week after tough results beforehand, Latics can now use this confidence boost to keep moving forwards and improving.

Whilst he also praised the 505 fans who travelled in difficult weather conditions to watch the team and was something that didn't go unnoticed.

"Momentum is the word now, consistency as well with togetherness. Building all those things we talk a lot about. 

"It's still early days yet between me and the squad and remember we recruited 15/16 players in the summer so it's still a new setup. But you're seeing certain habits starting to build.

"Something else I've got to mention, our fans were tremendous. It's no surprise to me, even the Fourth Official commented on them and I love every single one of them. So keep coming and hopefully our next game we'll give them a better performance and the three points as well."


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