United need to go back to basics and iron out mistakes, says boss Alan Devonshire

07:00PM, Wednesday 03 March 2021

Alan Devonshire admits the Magpies have let themselves down defensively in their past couple of matches, and he hopes a back-to-basics approach on the training ground this past week will serve them well at Solihull Moors and Dagenham & Redbridge this week.

United gifted Bromley a two-goal lead a couple of weeks ago but managed to recover in the second half to come away with a creditable 2-2 draw. However, there was no such luck against Aldershot Town on Tuesday last week, where the Magpies fell 3-0 down before once again attempting to claw their way back into the contest. Having hauled themselves back to 3-2 thanks to another brace from Danilo Orsi-Dadomo, they had several chances to rescue another draw, but Josh Rees completed his hat-trick in the final minutes to condemn the hosts to a 4-2 defeat.

Devonshire hopes the past week on the training ground will have ironed out those defensive errors.

“We hope so,” he said. “We let ourselves down defensively as a team against Aldershot and we’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen on Saturday and Tuesday.

“When they cross the white line it’s down to the boys. Is it (the slow starts) because there are no fans? I don’t know. You’d have to ask the players. But a lot of it has been down to individual errors. The first goal against Aldershot was a mistake. We had these errors right at the start of the season and I’ve told the players we can’t go back to that.”

Looking ahead to this week’s games, Devonshire added: “They’re both big clubs with big budgets, Solihull and Dagenham, so we’ll have to wait and see how we get on, but they’ll be hard games. We wanted to get that game out of our system by playing another game as soon as possible, and obviously we haven’t been able to do that. This season we’ve had four-weeks off, two weeks off, and now another 10 days off. I think that if teams are available to play then surely, they should be made to play.”

United had an agreement in place to reschedule one of their postponed matches for Tuesday night, but the team they were due to play then changed their minds to Devonshire's frustration.

“We’ve played when we’ve had four or five players out and we’ve got an 18-man squad,” he said.

“That’s just the way it is.

“Football isn’t important compared to what’s going on elsewhere, but we’re very lucky and privileged to be playing and we need to show our best in games because we owe it to the club and the fans. We need to get back on a winning thread as soon as possible. I hoped we could do that against Dover or Weymouth but now we’ve got tough away matches at Solihull and Dagenham.”

Devonshire has confirmed that Shaun Donnellan and Josh Smile are both ruled out for the rest of the season, with the latter having picked up an ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) knee injury. He hopes Sam Barratt will return in the coming weeks, but this week’s matches will come too soon for him, while defender Remy Clerima, who has missed much of the campaign through injury, could be back in contention for Saturday’s trip to Solihull.


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