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Interviews

Kewell On Southend Fixture This Weekend

5 March 2021

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© Eddie Garvey

The Head Coach sat down with iFollow Latics before the encounter at the weekend against the Shrimpers.

Looking back at another midweek defeat, Kewell remained focused and determined to put things right again.

“We’ve had another good couple of days training. I can't fault he players' attitude, especially in the training aspect, they're willing to learn. We're always trying to improve them, trying to drip feed the information and trying to get them up to a level where they can take on the information and understand it and then execute it. 

“We're getting there. But like I said, it’s just on that final hurdle. Sometimes we're flying over it and then sometimes we're tripping up on it. So that's something that we have to have to work out, just recapping on the Bolton game. Yes, it was a good start and then again just five minutes of madness, where we concede a goal and get a man sent off. 

“But for me the work ethic that they put in in the second-half was a level of dedication, a good level of attitude, a standard where I don't want them to drop. Now we're coming up with a period of games where that level is going to be needed. And we must take full advantage of our efforts and what we're capable of doing, and bring these into the following games because there's 15 games to go and not one of them will be an easy game. In fact, I believe that they're all going to be cup finals and we have to finally show everyone else what we're capable of doing.

Missing the reverse fixture in the earlier season due to self-isolation, the Head Coach knows that Southend United are a team to be wary of.

“They've got a good structure to their team,” he said.  

“I don't think the results over the past three or four weeks have reflected their performances, so they've been unlucky. So again, we have to be at our very best because they're going to come with a good attitude, a style of play, which we've worked on and we know what they are going to try to do, but again it's going to come down to the individuals winning their battles. And if we can achieve that, then it puts us in good stead for gaining the three points.”

With his squad depleted due to knocks, longer term injuries and suspensions, it’s something that will test the character of the squad as the relentless two games a week schedule continues.

“Three weeks ago, we had one player injured, now we have quite a few missing due to knocks sustained and suspensions.

“We're still waiting on one or two players coming back in, but it's going to be difficult in the next couple of fixtures. It’s a part of the game we’re faced with but every team goes through spells like this, we have to deal with it and we're dealing with it. We're going to have to make some adjustments but players are ready to come in and those out are working hard to get back to full fitness sooner rather than later.”

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One player who has been reintroduced in recent weeks is midfielder Callum Whelan and Kewell praised the ex-Manchester United and Watford man, saying he’s improving as each week passes both physically and mentally.

“I've always liked Callum Whelan, he's an excellent player and a very technical player. I feel sorry for him, it just hasn't fallen right this season. 

“It's just that I think the players that have played one or two who have played in front of him in a similar position have done really well. So again, he just has to be patient. He's got tremendous talent and is so technically gifted with his vision of pass. I think his awareness on the ball is second to none.

“The technical side of him is very good as well and he's now putting pressure on our players. So, unfortunately I can't play everybody. We have to make decisions, but like I said, he's been a true professional. He's working hard and he's always given me a problem.”

On players adapting their roles with key members missing; “We're coming down to the business end of it now. I don't like that saying, because every week should be the business week. So, again, we are just going to try and keep our first team fit and healthy and keep rolling out there and hopefully we can get some more positive results on a more consistent basis.”

He added: “When we speak to them, they're always ready for the next game. They're always up for it. There is disappointment when they lose. They don’t get over excited when they win, because we know that we have to play another game soon. 

“They're handling it well but individually but it must be frustrating for them too, the ups and downs we’re experiencing. It's frustrating for me, for sure and I know it's frustrating for the fans. 

“But like I said, this is like a new start and not only to this team but to the club and we need to be able to have some stability. That's the one thing our football club needs to work on.”


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