Malachi hails defending as a unit

Dunfermline’s on-loan defender Malachi Fagan-Walcott is more likely to recognise players like Bayer Leverkusen’s Patrik Schick and Swedish internationalist Emil Forsberg than any that his manager James McPake warns of ahead of games in the cinch Championship.  At least he has played against these more famous players. He came up against them when Tottenham played RB Leipzig in the Champions League now he is happy to be for the first time, playing against a Scottish team that he has played against already and feels more comfortable about what to expect. The 22 year old explained:-

“It is difficult for me because the gaffer will name players in the dressing room but I won’t know who they are. So I just go into every game not thinking anything of it. I don’t know what they’ve done. That gives me a bonus because I don’t go into the game with a mindset in my head of what I’m up against. Not knowing how many goals they have scored in the Premiership. I feel like that helps me but whoever they are, we just have to defend as a unit. Stick to what we know and what we do best, when we defend like a unit we keep a clean sheet.”

Saturday’s opponents, Dundee United have players with Premier League experience like Louis Moult and Tony Watt both of whom are in double figures for goals scored in the Championship this season. Malachi has fine memories of his Dunfermline debut against Dundee United at Tannadice when his sides achieved a confidence building shut out. He revealed:-

“There is a positive vibe around the dressing room about going into this game. Of what I remember it was tough but it was a good game up there. I think the boys played well, I think we defended well as a unit and for me personally every other game I have played I have never come up against the team before. So this is the first game since I have been here where I know what I’m going into. I have a positive feeling about it.”

A win over the league leaders would help eliminate the disappointment of losing last weekend’s local derby where Malachi claimed Dunfermline were the better team for the majority of the game:-

“I haven’t looked at the stats but I don’t think they had many chances. They took the two, we are all very disappointed about it but we are trying to take the positives out of it. It was a derby and probably the best footballing game since I’ve been here. That was great and it was also good to have Bene, it was the first time that I had played alongside him. I thought that was great.

“He is different but similar to Hammy in the sense that they are both loud and commanding. You can feel his presence and feel more safe, especially in the three when he is the one sitting behind. You feel more safe with him behind you. He commanded me around quite a bit but he makes sure that you are concentrating all the time.“

Nonetheless Dunfermline shipped two goals at Raith and two in the previous match at home to Airdrieonians. 

“That was off the back of two clean sheets as well” Malachi pointed out. “Airdrie didn’t really deserve it either. We haven’t been awful in any of these games and I don’t think they had many chances. We probably had more chances than them but they got those two goals and it was just devastating for all of us really. We strive to get clean sheets, that’s our main goal. It hurts when we concede but we can’t dwell on it too much and let it affect the next game.”

Malachi’s loan from Cardiff City has seen him start eight games and the Scottish game has brought no surprises to him possibly since he started two games and was on the bench on another four occasions for Championship matches three years ago when on loan at Dundee:-

“Coming up here I knew that it wasn’t going to be so much playing every game. Some games you might have the ball more than others. I came to the mindset of I have got to be super aggressive off the ball. Before every game I think of what I’m trying to do, I don’t really think about on the ball stuff. Everyone makes mistakes so I think as a defender, if you just do your job defending even if you are not great on the ball, you can still keep a clean sheet. I go into every game thinking keep a clean, be aggressive, win all your individual duels, help your team mates and then what will happen on the ball will happen.”

With the exception of the horrific home defeat to Morton, Malachi feels that his performances at Dunfermline have revealed his attributes that in addition to defending has also returned two goals.

“That Morton game – I don’t really like to talk about it – was a tough one to be involved in but I felt like it showed a lot of character from me and everyone in the team about how you bounce back after that when you just stick to something.  Although you get games like that in your career but you just stick to it and people see what you are really like. You cannot judge someone on one game or two games. Now I feel that people are starting to see the real me and I’m starting to really play my best form of football.”

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