We made sure to recover properly after Saturday so we’re all ready to go

Bobby, commiserations following Saturday. How were the lads feeling after full-time.

It was one of those days at the office. We have to accept the scoreline. People will analyse what happened, but we’re honest and we accept what happened in the end.

You’ve said before that you “learn more from losing” a match as opposed to winning it. I’m guessing Saturday was an important learning curve in terms of the level required to face the league’s big dogs?

You always learn when you lose. As a manager, it’s important to pick your brains and analyse every situation, both good and bad. You’ll always question what you could have done better; that’s football. If we played them again, we would have looked to have done things differently, but that’s all part of the learning curve. My youngsters will learn from this. Let’s just hope that all of our bad luck happened in one day!

Does this go back to the idea that the players need to show two sides to their game? One that creates chances, but also one that can pick up points by being hard to break down.

Sometimes it’s good to play fluent football, but other times it’s good to play ugly and be hard to beat. On Saturday we played brilliantly, at times, and dominated with the ball. But, we were sloppy at times, too. That’s what we need to work on. But, this is all part of the game, and we just need to make sure we’re better in every department tomorrow.

We speak all the time about how our first step on the pitch was to start “changing draws into wins,” is winning against the big teams the next step?

I would have taken a draw on Saturday!

I would have also happily taken a draw tomorrow, but now the challenge is whether we can now pick up more than two points over these two games by beating Hampton & Richmond. Having said that, we’re disappointed whenever we don’t beat the bigger sides, which shows how far we’ve come.

It’s a game we’re looking forward to. There were problems with floodlights when we last went to their place, before they won in the 94th minute, so I’ll be reminding the boys of that. After what happened there, we need to be ready to show a bit of nastiness tomorrow.

Will what happened at their ground prove as a good source of motivation for the players?

It’s something I’ll definitely be reminding them of, but whatever plan they had that day, it worked as they won the game. All I need from my players is for them to make sure they’re ready to try and win a game of football.

So the main thing is simply to be competitive and try to outperform them?

Listen, stats don’t lie. They’ve been in great form this season. They’ve dropped points in the last couple of games, but they’re still in contention for the play-offs. But, we don’t fear them. That’s the mindset we want to have.

Back to the drawing board ahead of tomorrow, what has preparation been like behind-the-scenes?

We made sure to recover properly after Saturday so we’re all ready to go. Today, we’ll be tactically analysing everything. We have a game plan, as we do with every other single game. The boys know their jobs and what they need to do. We just hope to continue our momentum and put on another good performance.

Last Saturday we played a team who loves to win by scoring lots of goals. Hampton, however, prefer to win games by being tough to break down. This could potentially be a very different game, one that requires another side to Weymouth.

Our last game against them showed they were exactly that. Tomorrow will involve two teams who are hard to break down. Every time we play each other, it’s usually a very tight game, so it will take a bit of spark to beat them. It won’t be as fluid and open as Saturday, but if we can create half the chances tomorrow, whilst being solid at the back, we have a good chance of winning.

It seems like being clinical will be key tomorrow.

Exactly. If you have a chance, you’ve got to take it, and, if we keep creating chances, goals will eventually come. I believe in my forwards. If we all keep believing in them, they will achieve what they want to achieve.

As always, what has been the key message going into tomorrow’s game?

Stay focused off the ball. We’re playing some very entertaining football, but we need to make sure we’re also hard to beat. Concentration will be more important than even, because, tactically, this is going to be a very tough game.

Interview by
Jack Webb

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