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Interviews

Pre Cambridge | Steve Cotterill

19 January 2023

Salop boss Steve Cotterill spoke to the press ahead of this weekend's game at home to Cambridge United.

Town host the U's at the Meadow one week after their 4-0 thrashing of Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium.

The two sides faced off against each other at the Abbey Stadium on Boxing Day, with Cambridge coming out 2-1 winners on what was a frustrating afternoon for Shrewsbury.

The boss discussed all of the above and spoke on his team's morale and the togetherness in the squad.

ON CAMBRIDGE: 

"We are looking forward to the game irrespective of what happened in the previous fixture and how well we played. 

"The first half I thought was a little bit of a non-entity if I’m honest. But I thought in the second half we were a much better team. 

"A couple of lapses in concentration cost us that game. 

"We will be going all out this week to set the record straight."

ON THE TEAM'S MORALE:

"Morale wasn’t bad anyway. Winning 4-0 was nice but the morale wasn’t bad anyway. 

"We weren’t down in the dumps – we knew we’d done better than the results we got. 

"Everyone thinks about the results but there has been enough explaining about why we got beat in those games. 

"Having 10 men for three games on the spin – I know one was very short with Ryan Bowman’s (at Cambridge) coming near the end but we still only had 10 men. 

"The morale wasn’t bad anyway. But what it does is reinforce what we have been doing. 

"We have created chances and we took them last week.  

"Morale was always good but we will take confidence out of it. We just have to make sure that it's confidence not arrogance – but I don’t anticipate any of our boys being like that, they are good boys."

ON THE CLEAN SHEET: 

"The clean sheet was important. We have done a lot of the horrible stuff in the last two games – I felt we needed to improve on that a little bit. 

"We did it very well against Sunderland. Then we had that corner from which they scored their first goal that wasn’t a corner. It should have been a goal kick. 

"If we had got that decision, who knows we might have gone on and got a clean sheet in that game as well. 

"I think the last couple of weeks we have done the horrible stuff in the game really, really, well against two different styles of football as well."

ON THE TOGETHERNESS WITHIN THE SQUAD NOW STEVE'S BEEN HERE FOR OVER TWO YEARS: 

"It's different and that doesn’t just happen - I think people can take that for granted. 

"I would say there are younger players in the squad now. There is more value in the squad now. 

"And that has only started this season really. 

"If somebody wants to say it is my squad now - I suppose it is when it comes to recruiting players. 

"But the other two sets of lads in the first year and in the second year were my lads when they were here. 

"It’s different. The group is different. But there has been an incredible amount of hard work that has gone into putting that together. Incredible."

ON PLAYERS RETURNING FROM INJURY: 

"When you see names on the bench – it doesn’t always mean they are ready and fit. 

"We put Elliott (Bennett) back in the team too early but it was a case of necessity. 

"We can’t all of a sudden think everyone is up and running like they are at the end of pre-season. That doesn’t happen.

"Julien Dacosta, for example, is doing extra work with the fitness coach after training. 

"When players have been out for the best part of five months – normally in the off-season you’ll have two months where you’ll be away from the club. 

"It might be eight weeks, it might be seven weeks depending on what World Cup year we are in and what other competitions are going on. 

"Normally at the end of the season you have a two-week shut down. Then all of the players I have ever managed will have a five-or-six-week build-up where they have to do three sessions a week. 

"Three sessions a week – 40 minutes, a 75 per cent heartrate. Then when they come back in pre-season they are not incredibly unfit. 

"When players miss that or don’t have that – it's no coincidence that players who come into the club struggle. 

"Even the lads that came in last year that are fit boys, they struggled at the start of pre-season because they hadn’t done an off-season programme. 

"So when now we talk about players in our squad being out for five months, why do we think a week or two's training is good enough for them to be in the team? It's not. 

"Sometimes the players think that. But anyone who thinks they are going to be back fit after a week’s training is deluded. 

"That is the reason pre-season is six weeks after two months off. After five months off, how long do you need?"

ON CHRISTIAN SAYDEE: 

"I think his understanding of the game when he first came in was good anyway. 

"Obviously, he has been in and around the lads at Bournemouth so they are no mugs - the boys he was training with day in, day out. 

"I think that he has had a good schooling down there. 

"He has had a couple of loans. His last loan at Burton Albion, enough gets made of it that he didn’t score for them but he’s started scoring for us. 

"Sometimes, though, that can just be luck.  

"As I have said before, Christian has come in here and done very, very, well for us. 

"We’re really pleased to have him and hopefully somewhere down the line he goes onto bigger and better things. 

"The same goes for Rob Street as well. It's not just Christian – they are both young boys who have come on loan to us. 

"And we just hope they go on from us and have a good career – that's what you want. You want to be part of the journey for them. 

"They have done really, really, well for us.  

"I’m demanding with them. I think they accept that. They might not always like the demands but I think when the demands are met, if they satisfy me they will satisfy themselves that’s for sure. 

"And I think at the end of it they will become better players. 

"You need to be strong with young players when you are bringing them through. You have to educate them. And I don’t just mean being tough with them, sometimes it’s a bit of tough love. 

"You have to make sure you strike the right balance. They also get a lot of credit from me as well. 

"And even if they haven’t played a good game – you've never heard me come out here and throw any of them under the bus. That is not my school of thought."

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