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Interviews

Maamria's Expectation Not Met

2 January 2020

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The Head Coach was open and honest following back-to-back defeats at Boundary Park over the festive period.

Maamria was left disappointed that his side couldn't muster the spirit to take ahold of the game in what was a lacklustre performance.

"Well it was a really poor game of football to be fair. Both teams looked tired at the start and the first-half was very scrappy. Probably a single goal was going to decide it.

"Eisa we'd allowed him too much space and knew he attacks the goal well inside and it was a terrific strike to be fair.

"The difference was really, they've been on a great run and lost the last two games and they've gone back to the basics to scrap for the first and second ball. Win headers, win tackles.

"To us, we've been on a great run too, in eight games we've been averaging 1.8 points per game. Four wins, three draws and one loss but all of sudden we lost what we've been doing well which is competing and doing the basics well. All those things that I've been trying to instil in this team from the day I came in.

"We looked like we didn't have enough. Tired legs, tired minds with three games in a very short space of time and clearly ran out of legs at the end.

"I was disappointed really with our lack of doing the basics in terms of getting tighter to them, closing them down with intensity, winning the first and second ball.

"I thought we were second best all over the park. I think one or two players didn't come out of it with any credit but as a team we weren't good."

He continued: "The second goal came from a corner. We were in a good position in the attacking third and then they broke through us, going past three players without putting a tackle in and the consequence is they end up with a corner in the box.

"But the game was probably dead anyway at that time and we made the changes at half-time to search for that spark.

"Maouche has been carrying his hamstring, Jones has been carrying his calf. We've got one or two sore bodies carrying through.

"Wheater and Hamer were great. Those two and Zak Mills they're the ones coming out with any credit at all. Those three put their bodies on the line despite the injuries they are carrying. 

"But they put a shift in and the minimum requirement is in those situations when you know that you're not getting as much of the ball, where's there no fluency and the game is stop-start. When it's a scrappy affair you've got to make sure that you go back to basics and start doing them well and we didn't do that."

Scunthorpe lined up in a similar way to Maamria's Latics and he admitted that the visitors did things better and was the main reason why they got the result with an understandable frustrated home support.

"We were 4-4-2, they also started 4-4-2 and we cancelled each other out but they were just better at clearances, their centre-backs dominating our centre-forwards and at the start in the middle of the park we weren't getting the second ball.

"Our wide players I don't think crossed a ball in the first-half. We're supposed to create overloads out wide and with 4-4-2 we have two centre-forwards to press them but we didn't do that.

"We cancelled each other out in the first-half and they were ultimately better at the basics than us really.

"We're not a team that thrives off the basics it's something that we're working really hard on.

"Like I said, we've been on a good run but we've not been playing fantastic football. The football has been ok, it's been improving but what has been good about it has been the work rate and basics that I'm talking about has been really good.

"So when you do that you always pick up points. When you turn up like this, it's a hard afternoon because our fans turn up and don't expect that so I can only apologise."

The last two games have seen Oldham lose the lead in the first-half but the main task of the Head Coach now is to focus on getting his side ready for the next challenge.

"We've been good in terms of our resilience. We conceded against Crawley and we won the game 2-1.

"I think the squad has been tested definitely. Three games in quick succession it's really difficult. What we've got to do is we can't feel sorry for ourselves we've now got to go to Cheltenham which is another difficult one at the weekend. So we've got to make sure that we're ready, stay positive and be honest and have those conversations.

"The expectation from the fans, from me, from ourselves and when things are not going well at times we've got to scrap, we've got to fight and we've got to put one foot in front of the other and we've got to work our socks off and that's the minimum requirement.

"If we do that I think we have a chance."

He added: "Looking back since I took over we've had to work very, very hard for that. We all know that and now the window is open we know we've got to strengthen in certain areas for sure.

"The Chairman has been fantastic in terms of backing me, I just hope we can manage to get one or two bodies in before the weekend because we are very limited.

"We are together as a team and as a squad. We're always positive, we're honest with each other. When we look back at that, that didn't meet our expectation level and that wasn't the minimum requirement that we expect.

"We'll learn from it and we've got to bounce back."


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