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Paul Hurst Post Southend United

29 October 2016

Gaffer looks back on his first game as Town boss

Shrewsbury Town's new boss Paul Hurst had to settle for a point in his first game in charge after a 1-1 draw at Southend.

Town had taken the lead at Roots Hall thanks to a screamer from Captain Adam El-Abd, but Southend levelled before half time through Stephen McLaughlin.

The second half was a quieter affair with few chances for either side and in the end Paul was pleased with a point.

“I think it’s a hard earned point,” Hurst told the gathering Press.

“We gave up a bit of territory, but I’m not sure how many real good saves Jayson’s been forced into, albeit he did come and take some crosses to alleviate a bit of pressure, but overall I can’t fault the lads commitment.

“We were looking at a way to get another striker on the pitch to perhaps cause a few more problems at the other end, but I think for where we are and the previous results, it has to be seen as a step in the right direction.”

Hurst was forced to revert to a back four against Southend after Joe Riley picked up a bad knee injury in training on Thursday with Dom Smith coming into the side at right back after returning from Barrow. Meanwhile, Hurst had special praise for Captain Adam El-Abd who scored Town’s goal and put in a man of the match display at the heart of the backline.

“I don’t think any of us are used to that sort of finish, but as soon as he hit it I thought that it looked like his had a chance and then even when it went in I wasn’t quite sure,” Hurst said of El-Abd’s goal.

“I thought he was excellent today. He won every header, he led, but I think the general thought was that was the best we’ve defended balls into the box.

“They had quite a few corners and you get worried because there’s always some that you won’t get the first header on, but overall I thought we won some excellent headers.

“I think the players know it’s a start, but we certainly have to try and be better in possession of the football, but that will have to come after getting a little bit more solid, a little more resilient.

"It’s more a mentality thing. I’ve seen the goals go in and we’ve talked about it on Friday and today about making sure you’ve got your man and if someone’s going to beat you make sure it’s in the right way.

“We all lose headers from time to time, but it’s how you lose it and I thought they stood to a man in that penalty area and made it extremely difficult.”

Hurst was asked whether he enjoyed his first experience as Town boss and despite only being at the club a matter of days, the new gaffer felt comfortable in the dugout and was pleased with his players’ effort.

“I think there’s always a little bit of nerves, but not too much in truth and it felt pretty comfortable, as if I’d been here longer than I have,” admitted Paul.

“The first day is a little bit daunting and you are introduced to so many people, do so much Press and even by Tuesday things felt more familiar.

“It will take time, because for me to manage the players and the staff as I want to will take time. Things have got to be put into order of importance and we will do that as we go along, but I enjoyed it.

“At least we are giving the supporters something. I think by the response at the end they were happy with the players’ efforts at least and that has to be a minimum.”

“It’s not always going to go your way, whether you are the best team or the worst team, but you can at least put the effort in and the players certainly did that today”

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