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Interviews

Maamria Determined To Get It Right

9 January 2020

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Ahead of the weekend clash with Macclesfield, Dino Maamria wants his side to focus on getting back to basics again after a tricky run of fixtures and results over the hectic Christmas period.

Latics travel to Moss Rose looking for their first win in three games, but after an uninterrupted week of training, the Head Coach says the team are in a good place to tackle another busy week of games.

"Obviously the mood when you're losing games is never great. I never understand people who say 'I'm enjoying it, I'm loving it’. I'm only loving and enjoying it when I'm winning. But it's football. You get your bad period and unfortunately for us it's all happened in one week. I was always concerned about that period with the squad we have. We started the period quite strong and then we finished it poorly.

"We're missing some key players, I think that's the biggest part of it. We lost our way a little bit in terms of work on the training ground and we couldn't manage to do that with the games between them. We lost that resilience, that hard to beat mentality, that back three and back four work we've been doing. This week has been good for us to get back to doing those things with those basics.

"One thing we didn't do in the last couple of days, and you can even hear it from the fans; we need to tackle more, we need to compete more. We need to do those basics: to head, to block, defend 1v1, win your duals, make it personal, we need to do all those things. We haven't done that in the last couple of games and I think that's why we are where we are.

"It's been a good week for us because we got to go back to that. I'm pleased about this week but I know that we've got two huge games on Saturday and Tuesday in quick succession.

"We've got a big three games in total and we are capable of beating those teams because we've proved that we can beat those around us. Having said that, we have to be much, much better than what we've been in the last three games."

The first of those three crucial games is Macclesfield on Saturday, the side two places and three points behind Latics in the league. The Silkmen’s league position is partly a result of the six point deduction they were handed due to the financial issues that have plagued the club for the last year.

They are currently without a manager following the recent resignation of Daryl McMahon, with Danny Whitaker in caretaker charge. Despite the problems off the pitch, the Silkmen have still be collecting results and Maamria was full of praise for Saturday’s opponents.

"I'm a big fan of them," Maamria added. "I watched their last two games against Cambridge and Port Vale, and I played against them earlier in the season with my previous club and here. I admire them a lot; they work their hardest and stay together despite all the adversity around them and play for their lives and I've got a lot of time for that.

"Against Cambridge last week they totally dominated. Against Port Vale they totally dominated and they were unlucky to draw 2-2. Their players are focused on the games, they're staying together even though they're getting paid or not getting paid. But they are much, much better than their league position without a shadow of a doubt."

Latics confirmed the loan signing of Carl Piergianni from Salford City on Monday. The central defender won Supporters’ Player of the Season two years on the bounce for the Ammies, as he helped the club seal consecutive promotions. Maamria gave a glowing assessment of his new signing, and added that he would like to bring in more players of Piergianni’s calibre in terms of the characteristics he will bring to the side.

"I'm big admirer of Carl, he was outstanding for Salford last season. He played a huge part in the rise of Salford City. A player, a character, a man, a voice, a talker. I'm sure Carl will be here for a long time with us.

"They are the type of players I'm trying to bring in, the Chris McCann type of character, who has been a huge loss for us, we look a different team without Chris McCann. We need another forward now, maybe another midfielder and we'll be in business.

"I've never been a fan of loan deals. But it's January and sometimes that is the only option. We've got two or three loans we're trying to terminate and some loans that didn't work out. Probably the only loan that worked for us is Jonny Smith. To free up some budget we have to do that.

"If we can, we're trying to bring in someone permanently, but they have to be right for us for next season. They have to be players you can get promotion from League Two to League One with. Otherwise I won't keep them long term. Chris McCann I would keep all day long, Carl (Piergianni); those characters will take you up the league.

"We've got the young boy Christian N'Guessan on loan from Burnley, but he's highly rated there and they don't want to let him go and put an option on it in the summer. If we bring in one or two others, if it's a loan, I would always like to put an option to take him at the end of the season if possible.

"I'm building a team for next season to be at the top end of this league. That never changes. I need to bring characters, I need to bring players that know the level, players that do the basics well and that know how to win football games in League Two. I've been around this league for long enough to know there are enough players and Carl Piergianni is probably the biggest example of that when he turns up this week and his first two or three training sessions that level has risen up straight away."

Maamria emphasised the importance of recruiting players who fit the Latics identity, as he aims to build a team the fans can relate to during his first transfer window at the club.

"I want to change the culture of the football club. I want a culture where players understand what Oldham fans expect and what I expect. There is nothing worse as manager than watching a team that is not reflecting your personality, and we've got to change that. We need to make sure that our fans can watch a team that they belong to.

"I know what our fans do; they care and travel all over. Even last weekend when we had a terrible performance, terrible loss, I'll still go and clap them despite all that I hear back, I always appreciate their support, I will always clap them because they've paid money and I'll make sure my players go and clap them, regardless of the result.

"Win, lose or draw, we go and thank those away fans because they love the football club. Hopefully I'll go and clap them and celebrate a big win on Saturday."


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