I want to enjoy watching my teams play

Mark, your first point back at the club. You said afterwards that Saturday’s game was a “tough test.”

You certainly seemed pleased with how the players rose to the occasion.

I was really pleased with how we tackled a series of tough away fixtures. As I said on Saturday, three away trips in a week, that is some tough going. Lots of miles travelled and minutes played, yet the attitude from the lads was first-class.

Our patterns of play were really starting to show on Saturday. We created a lot more chances. Full credit to the lads for that; we haven’t been able to rehearse any of that, only a couple of verbal guides. All in all, a very credible point.

As you just said, the thing that looked to please you the most was the way we progressed the ball up the pitch. As we saw with your past Weymouth teams, free-flowing fast-paced football looks to be key to your philosophy going forward.

Definitely. It’s no secret that I have a way of how I want to play, and I want to get back to that way of playing. I want to enjoy watching my teams play, where I see them express themselves, but work really hard, too. On Saturday, I saw the hallmarks of what I want my team to look like.

“Bravery” was a word that was mentioned a lot during Saturday’s interview. Is that the key quality for a player developing and expressing themselves on the pitch?

Bravery in football is associated with winning headers and tackles, but, for me, a big part of bravery is wanting to get on the ball and express yourself. To do that, you have to be willing to fail and take risks. Th players understood that on Saturday, and were a lot more free-flowing as a result.

Based on what you’ve told us, it seems that the level of “bravery” is what has impressed you the most during your ongoing “assessment mode”.

We’re certainly still in assessment mode, no doubt about that. But, I feel that we’re now starting to look ahead to next season, where we can lay foundations and introduce a clear way of playing.

Moving onto the next game, another away match this time against Truro. You mentioned Welling’s “tricky” pitch conditions on Saturday. For a team like Truro, who also play on a 3G pitch, it appears likely that the lads will face similar challenges on Thursday.

Truro had a fantastic result on Saturday, beating Maidstone, and we know how strong they are. It just shows, especially at the end of the season, that no game is easy. It will certainly be a tough test, with it being another travel on the road. We’ll be doing everything to try and improve as much as we can from Saturday.

That’s the message I’ll be sending to the players: Can we show more consistency with the things we’re trying to do?

With us travelling once again, these away fixtures seem to be never-ending. Having said that, how promising has it been to see plenty of positives from the players in the context of these tough fixtures, particularly given the lack of training?

That’s the most pleasing thing. I’m not looking for perfection, I’m looking for potential. Players who want to learn, to get better, that’s what we’re looking for.

Like I said, we will risk results in favour of progress. Sometimes, when you desperately want to win a game with players you haven’t trained a lot with, you may not be as expansive in possession. But, that’s not what we want to do in the long run. We want to sart looking at how we want to play next season.

We’ll be carrying on from Saturday, where I felt we progressed more compared to the previous two games.

With this being our last away game of the season, has there been any discussion with the players about ending our travels on a high note, particularly in front of the travelling supporters?

Of course. Here I am praising the players for three gruelling away trips, but the length that our fans have travelled to watch us in the past week is quite formidable. To have the support we’ve had on these travels has been fantastic. I have to take my hat off to them.

From the bottom of my heart, I have to thank them for their continued support. It is very much appreciated. Hopefully they can see what we’re trying to do. A good performance on Thursday is nothing more than what they deserve.

Interview by
Jack Webb



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