Manager on ThursdayThursday, 9th Mar 2017
09/03/17: AJ - "There is a lot of pressure on St Mirren to go and win the game. A more open game should suit us
Allan Johnston stresses that Dunfermline Athletic just need to make sure that they win games to finish as high as possible up the league. He told the media on Thursday:-
"We have said for a long time that we just have to focus on ourselves. We always look above us and try and catch the teams up above us. There was an opportunity on Tuesday night to catch Queen of the South but we still have a game in hand."
In reality Tuesday`s drawn match suited neither side but it was not a classic claimed the manager but he dismissed suggestion that consolidating a place in the Championship should be the Pars goal in the first season back:-
"They just came to frustrate and sit in, they made it difficult and it is not enjoyable to watch when it is like that either.
"We are trying to finish as high as possible up the league. We want to get in the top four. That is where we wanted to be. Obviously you have to set your targets high. I think staying in the league for a club like Dunfermline is not really setting the bar high enough.
"We want to try and get in the top four. It is going to be difficult now given the advantage that the other teams have got."
The bad start to the league season is likely to quash the ambitions for this season and Allan added:-
"We gave ourselves a mountain to climb but it probably shows you how well the players have done because when you are on that kind of form at the start of the season it is very hard to pick yourselves up and go on a run like they have done.
"They have worked their way up the table and shown that they are good players. They have shown that mentally they can handle that side of the game and managed to get themselves into a better league position."
The manager laments the drawn games but praised the run of one defeat in thirteen league games saying:-
"A lot of those games we should have won. That is where we need to improve, we need to turn some of those draws into wins. We have tightened up defensively compared to the start of the season when we were losing too many goals and looked too open. We just need to be a bit more clinical with some of the chances we have created."
Saturday`s opponents have a top quality squad in the Pars gaffer`s eyes:-
"They have really good players who have played at the top level. I am sure that they will be disappointed with where they are but we have just got to focus on ourselves.
"We know that it is such a tight league and important that you keep on getting results. It is important that you keep on getting results and keep on trying to catch the teams up above you."
With two games in four days, three subs were used on Tuesday and even with the likes of fans favourite Joe Cardle on the bench, the manager claimed that it had been hard to change a winning team.
"The boys who have come in whether it has been Kallum Higginbotham or Paul McMullan, they have done really really well. You just have to make sure that you are patient and make sure that you are doing the right things day in day out. And when you get your chance, make sure that you take it. That is what football is all about."
Allan was at Starks Park to watch Raith Rovers defeat Saturdays opposition St Mirren but concluded that there was not much between the two teams.
"Ryan Hardie scored the two goals and probably had a point to prove after periods on loan to St Mirren. That is typical". He added:-
"You can see from their performance against Celtic and with the number of new players that they have brought in that they have picked up since January. They have a big squad and it is going to be a hard game. There is a lot of pressure on St Mirren to go and win the game. A more open game should suit us."
There are no new injuries and the manager knows how every player is wanting to play in all the big games coming up.
"They took a lot of fans to Kirkcaldy on Wednesday night, they are trying to get behind the team. I am sure that we will take a big support and it will make for a good atmosphere and a good game."
AJ also said that the time to commence planning for next season is approaching.
"We have not really spoken about it yet, there are still a lot of games to go. Hopefully we can get ourselves in a position where we can start getting players signed up for next season.
"Ideally you want to make sure that you are safe and you are in a better position that we are just now, before we can start planning."
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