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Interviews

Maamria Demands Better From His Players

6 January 2020

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Latics suffered a 3-0 defeat away against Cheltenham Town and Head Coach Dino Maamria gave another honest assessment of the game.

The Head Coach was disappointed to see his team on the wrong side of a 3-0 loss at the weekend but claims it tough with the number of injuries currently in the squad.

"A week is definitely a long time in football. I knew that this period was going to be quite testing for us because we had a very good run for eight games where we won four, drew three and lost one with a settled team playing a certain way and then you get the mad period of Christmas where we had four games in two weeks and clearly that's stretched our team.

"I've got three key players missing in that run, then I've got two or three coming back from long term injuries. Before we lost those players we looked like a team that's resilient, hard to beat and scoring goals but now we look like a completely different team, now we look like a team that can't defend and we look like a team that can't score goals.

"That's due to the change in personnel and the injuries that we suffered last week so it's always going to be difficult. It's a shame we worked very hard this week, we only got the clearance of Christian [N'Guessan] and we were supposed to bring in another centre-back in and that couldn't happen, the club worked very hard to try and bring them in because we've only got one centre-back fit which is David Wheater and we know that we need to strengthen, but I think it was good to see [Christopher] Missilou back and I thought that he was our best player and I thought he showed a lot of commitment and desire, he's been out for two months and I think that it was also good to see [Johan] Branger-Engone coming on late on to be back in the fold, so hopefully we'll get one or two up to speed with games and hopefully we'll be better for it."

Maamria is trying to stay upbeat following the defeat and takes a few positives from the encounter.

"The first half-an-hour they had nothing and we had a couple of good chances, but in their first attack, they scored from it. We don't have many defensive-minded players in the team, so we seem to defend passively and we need a proper defender in the backline and midfield as well.

"Like I said, when you keep yourself open when you’re going forward is always going to gift team goals and if you looked at the goals that we're conceding, that's what I've told the players that teams don't have to do a lot to score against us and we have to work very hard.

"Overall, I'm quite pragmatic about things. I always look at the big picture and small picture so we've been on a great run, but in a week we've lost three games it doesn't look great and it's not great for the fans travelling down here.

"But you've got to look at the facts and losing the players that we've lost, I think Chris McCann has been huge for us so has Jonny Smith, the centre-backs [Jamie] Stott and [Tomas] Egert are both out and we brought [Gevaro] Nepomuceno and he only did one training session with the group and we've had to play him straight away." He added.

"We had to force Branger-Engone to come on and Missilou probably needed another a week or two to get up to speed and match fit, but that's what we've got and I thought for large parts the first two goals, the last one was obviously 95th minute when the game is probably gone.

"The first two goals we were totally in the game at those moments and we were looking like the team most likely to score and then we concede. That's what they did well to be fair they took their chances and they were very clinical. We had our chances but didn't take them."

The gaffer was also frustrated to concede three goals and is determined to put things right and bring in a few more additions to the squad to try and get a turnaround in form.

"I said to the players, there are two parts of the game with the ball and without the ball. I thin back to when I first took the team and the change of personnel is quite different as well that's what we've got to remember because we had a settled team who had been playing and getting better and better every week.

"In three/four days we changed that, we changed the shape and everything so that's always going to be a difficult task, so I've got to get back to the training ground and do the things that we're trying to implement with this group of players.

"We've got one or two coming in and hopefully get one or two others as well. This January period is always going to be a transition period. It's always disappointing to lose, but I think we've got to learn from that and we've got to make sure we take two parts from the game because today I thought we were at large good with the ball without taking our chances, but defensively we were really poor and very open."

Maamria admits that currently, his side isn’t capable of producing wins consistently against teams in the top half of Sky Bet League Two.

"Since I took the job we knew that there were a lot of changes needed and I'm going to do that, we probably need two transfer windows to try and make those players better and try and bring better players in as well because that's obvious as well.

"All season, over 25 games we've been down in the bottom four, five and six that's where we are and if you look at the six games that we have won we could only beat the teams that are down near us." He commented.

"Like I said, over a long period of time in the first six months of the season, we've won six games and lost six games against teams down at the bottom so that's probably where we are right now and to get away from that I think that we have to make sure that we bring players in that are capable of winning those big games and we've got to do that sooner rather than later."


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