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Interviews

Pre Oxford United | Steve Cotterill

2 February 2023

Manager Steve Cotterill spoke to the media ahead of our trip to Oxford on Saturday.

Town head to the Kassam Stadium looking to register a fifth successive win in League One.

Speaking to the assembled media, Steve discussed the recent victories over Burton, Cambridge, MK Dons and Forest Green Rovers and how they were all achieved with a different style.

The boss also praised the fitness of his players - with Tom Bayliss netting an 89th-minute winner at MK Dons and Rekeil Pyke and Ryan Bowman scoring in stoppage time to beat Forest Green.

And Steve also gave an update on Dan Udoh and George Nurse who are both recovering well after suffering season-ending ACL injuries.

ON THE FOUR WINS: 

"There are a lot of ways to win a football match. Whatever tactics you decide can win – that's what they have to be. 

"There is no point in thinking you can play one way all the time.  

"I listen to a lot of younger managers talking about identity – you don’t want an identity. What the players need is a clear idea of what you are trying to do that day. 

"If you have an identity, I know you’re going to pass the ball to him, so I know where my first pressing point is. 

"Then he passes to him, so I know where my second pressing point is. 

"You have to be able to do everything in this game - you have got to be able to do a bit of everything. 

"That is what I try and get through to our lads and I think they are far better for it. 

"We have different wins, from different games with different circumstances 

"You want to win and you want to play well every week. But that isn’t always going to happen.  

"But if you can keep winning or win when you haven’t played well, that is an even better recipe. 

"Sometimes those 1-0 wins – those 1-0 wins with clean sheets, what they do is win you promotions. 

"Anyone can get a 5-1, it doesn’t mean you are going to win something. But then the clean sheets, the 1-0 wins – they are like gold dust."

ON THE FITNESS OF HIS PLAYERS: 

"We train hard but I think they are accustomed to it. 

"The boys that have been here longer know what it’s like. We always train hard and if I don’t think we can train hard then we don’t train at all. 

"It’s one or the other. You just have to try and get that happy balance and I think we have that. 

"We have got a really, really, great group of lads. They are fit, they are strong and they do go to the end. Hopefully, that can continue for us. 

"I’ve said many a time I’ve got a good set of staff and I appreciate everything they do for me. The boys appreciate everything they do for them as well. 

"Down at the training ground here, it’s a real team effort – it's not about any individual. We work really hard as a collective."

ON THE IMPACT OF HIS SUBS: 

"What you want is that competition for places and that when someone is called upon, they go in and hit the ground running. 

"The reason those boys have hit the ground running when they’ve come on last week is because of the extra training they do. 

"When you are not in the starting line-up you have to do a little bit extra training.

"They do that and Chris Whalley (fitness coach) does a really good job of keeping on top of them and so do the rest of the staff."

ON HAVING OPTIONS FROM THE BENCH:

"Imagine what it would have been like if we’d had Dan Udoh and George Nurse available as well. 

"I think it's testimony to the rest of the players that we have carried on going without Dan and without George who both played 50-odd games last year. 

"I think the lads have done incredibly well and George and Dan are doing incredibly well as well in the treatment room. 

"They would be desperate to get out on the field at the moment with all the other lads. But that can’t be. Time will beat us there – there is no chance of that happening this season. 

"But they are still very much involved. They are in every day, they are at every game. They are very much involved those two boys. 

"Dan Udoh is running on an AlterG (anti-gravity) treadmill now. Dan has been doing that. 

"George is stepping up. They are both doing very, very, well. But they won’t do well enough that we’ll see them this season. At best, they will be back in training."

ON OXFORD: 

"It's an early start – we will be on our way down there on Saturday morning. 

"Then we will do our best – the same as we have done every other week. 

"We started our preparation early in the week with a few bits and bobs. 

"We have done more today and will finish off tomorrow. We are looking forward to the game."

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