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Maamria Determined To Bounce Back

11 February 2020

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Latics make the long trip to face Exeter City tonight and Head Coach Dino Maamria gave his thoughts on the tough test.

Latics suffered defeat against Crewe Alexandra in the last minute at the weekend and the Head Coach admits it was a tough one to take.

"We must reflect on Saturday, I took it really badly because that's probably the worst loss I've ever had being on the touchline, I felt it bad. With ten seconds to concede a goal of that manner was really disappointing but the biggest thing that was disappointing is that we've gone off the game that we've been playing of late.

"We've been really good with the ball and that's what we've emphasised to get back before the Exeter game where we are using the ball as much as possible and play the game that we can. We've got a lot of talented players where they need the ball at their feet and then when we end up with 60% pass accuracy, that's quite low for us and the level that we're at we need to be 75/80%+ in terms of our pass accuracy and that probably reflects on the result overall, so the next game is a fixture that we're looking forward to, another team in the top three.

"They're having a great season Exeter and they are different from Crewe in their approach to the game, there is no right or wrong approach whatever works for them. They're more direct than Crewe and are effective and they're good at what they do and it's going to be a good game for us. I think we're looking forward to it and the thing about losing on Saturday we've only got a couple of days to bounce back from it and we're determined to do that.

"They're a tough team at home and they get the fans behind them and teams travel a long way to get to there as well, so they take advantage of their home ground but they've got to do what they've got to do and we've got to do what we've got to do.” He commented.

Maamria is also keen to assure that the squad have the right mindset heading into the Exeter City game.

"I don't know how we've got Exeter on a Tuesday night it's a long five/six-hour trip so it's always going to be difficult for us and our fans. It should be a good game for us like I said, I'd prefer it to be a Saturday but it's a Tuesday so what we've got to do is plan as well as possible to give the players the maximum opportunity to make it a normal game.

"Our priority is Tuesday night and the minute the final whistle goes we've got to focus on Forest Green and make sure that we prepare the best way possible physically and mentally, but we must take it one game at a time."

The gaffer believes the Grecians will be a good test for the lads and claims his side will attack their opponents.

"When you are in mid-table; you might as well go for it off the leash. We will go there to attack them without a shadow of a doubt, and we'll go there to play the game that we're capable of playing and we've proved that we can do that so it's about us really.

"It's a good challenge to see how far we are. We will go to Exeter and try and win the game and like I say anything is possible and it's about how we approach the game and the application."

He added: "The players have been great, and they were gutted on Saturday after the game. I spoke to them over the weekend to make sure they're mentally right because that happens in football and we grow and learn from it.

"We'd like to win matches in the last minute of games and I haven't done that at Oldham yet, but it's a great feeling when you win in the last minute. Managing that last five to ten minutes of a game is something that we're looking to improve on.

"I thought Saturday we were in between from going to win the game and keeping the draw. My message to them was always to go and get that second goal because I'm not someone to hold onto a draw, it doesn't matter who we're playing against it's about winning games and my substitutions will reflect that as I always try to attack the opposition at a draw.

"Sometimes it backfires, and you end up losing with the last kick of the game, but you learn from that and you manage that situation better and make sure we learn from it together. Their goal came from a deep throw in their defensive third which we know that we should have been pressing them higher and maybe us earning a goal from it rather than conceding from it."

Latics had a few forced changes to the starting XI on Saturday and Maamria acknowledged that the squad may change again after the hamstring injury to Zak Dearnley as well Cameron Borthwick-Jackson suffering from illness prevented them both from playing at the weekend.

"I think what you're going to get with those games is that we all don't want to change things and sometimes we get forced to change things and especially with Saturday and Tuesday fixtures.

"We've got a few sore bodies and there are a few knocks so we're not naming the team yet for that reason and I'm going to leave it as late as possible. It's unusual because normally the players know who's starting and who's not, but for those reasons I just want to make sure that that we're picking a fit team first and foremost. A team that is going to start strongly."

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