Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 22nd Oct 2020

22/10/20: SC - “You have to adapt to different games and I think that is what we tried to address in the summer with the boys that we brought in.”

“We are delighted with four wins back to back. Having looked back on the Inverness game, I am really pleased that we have come from a goal down to go and win the game. I thought we created more chances that even I realised during the game.

“When I dissect the video we limited Inverness to a couple of shots from distance other than the goal itself. That is pleasing but there are things that we can do better but if you are going to ask the players to go and be creative you have got to allow them to play with confidence, a self belief but not arrogance. There is a fine line between that.”

It was Nikolay Todorov who struck for Inverness in just 88 seconds but Stevie was particularly pleased with the resilience shown by his team in coming back from one goal down.

“It is a different character trait. Maybe in my time here something that we have not done too many times. I think the first goal is always vital in the Championship so it was really pleasing.

“You could say that to go a goal down to Inverness and draw the game it would still have been a decent result. But playing at home we took the game to them in the second half, I thought it was very rewarding to go on and win the game.

“It is boys doing the right things - a free kick from Josh (Edwards), the knock down from Paul Watson was nice and aggressive, Declan (McManus) getting across his man.

“There were bits and pieces that I had seen in the Kilmarnock game as well. I told the boys to do their jobs properly and Ryan Dow was the first to react when it came off the goalkeeper. It ended up being the goal that put us on the front foot in the match.”

Coming on top of good results in the League Cup it is important for the Pars to keep the momentum going but the manager insists looking no further forward than the Alloa game on Saturday:-

“If we start looked ahead to two or three games time we are in trouble because football has a habit of coming back to bite you. We will fully respect Alloa. I don’t want to look back at last season’s results because it wasn’t an enjoyable experience.

“We know the way that Peter (Grant) likes his teams to play, they have had to change a few faces as well. We have done our homework on them and we will continue to work on that to try and get a positive result at the weekend.

“Every game has its different challenges. So whether it is Alloa, Arbroath, Hearts, Dundee, Ayr United, I could go through the whole Championship and that is why I think it is an exciting league to be involved in. You have to adapt to different games and I think that is what we tried to address in the summer with the boys that we brought in.”

Stevie believes that you can see that there is different edge to the team this season, able to change up because we have players who are adaptable:-

“When I came into the job it wasn’t my squad, I fully believe that over the transfer windows we have got better, we have got stronger and I have openly had conversations with players that we have brought in this year that we want to be challenging at the top of the table.

“We have players who can play in a number of positions and in a different manner. We can adapt to certain opposition as well. It is trying to get that balance right with a side that is settled but also a side that is going to win games of football.”

Stevie was asked if it will feel like a home game on Saturday because of the amount of time spent training in Alloa. His response:-

“Ask me that after the game and I will tell you! The surroundings are going to be familiar because we have done all our pre season there. Alloa is going to be a difficult game, Peter likes his players to have a belief in taking the ball to feet, passing football, passing movement. They are creative and technically they are very good players.

“They will ask questions of us. We will need to make sure that we are organised out of possession and then ask our players to go and be creative and cause them bother as well.”

There are different surfaces to master in this league and Alloa’s surface is just one of those things that has to be overcome when you visit the Indodrill Stadium.

“Obviously we are training on it on a daily basis but there is no way guarantees that you are going to go there and win the game. It is applying ourselves properly and trying to take advantage of training at Alloa and playing the surface the way that we know it does during training. If it is drier day or if it has a slickness on it if it has been rainfall on it.

“Hopefully the boys will keep their footing, know their distances and when to press. There are advantages from training on it and hopefully that will help us come Saturday.”

Club captain Euan Murray is the club’s leading goalscorer on four and with five different goal scorers for the nine goals scored in four games so far in competition this season, Stevie sees that as a great strength:-

“It is pleasing and I think, if you are going to be competing at the right end of the table, you can’t just rely on one person scoring goals. It is great that attacking players like Ryan Dow scored, Declan got his goal, Kevin scored his penalty against Dumbarton. The goals are getting shared about at the moment and that brings a problem for oppositions as well, it is not just identifying who to go out and stop. It is not a certain player or two players. Long may that continue.”

Becoming a danger at setpieces is something that he has sought in his time in the job and he added:-

“When you have identified players who can take a dead ball, identify certain movements or whatever and boys actually want to go and do it with aggression.

“I give the players a pat on the back when we are doing it on a Friday or the day before preparing for matches, I think that there has been a focus to them. If we take our eye off that and don’t apply ourselves it gives us less chance of that becoming real on a match day. It is things like that the coaching staff will be keeping their eyes on and hoping that we are a threat from setplays.”

Steven Whittaker, Kerr McInroy and Lewis Mayo are all and all fit for selection, a headache but a good headache claimed Stevie:-

“I think that players that are in the starting eleven know that there is genuine competition for places, and that is not taking away from the team that I have had in previous seasons. I will have to pick an eleven along with a bench that can go and beat Alloa to come away with three points.”

Steven Whittaker missed the opening league match due to suspension but the former Hibs, Rangers and Norwich City player is hoping to return after playing the full games against Dumbarton and Kilmarnock and 76 minutes against Falkirk. The gaffer agreed that he may need to mindful of the 36 year old’s capacity:-

“If it became midweek-Saturday, midweek-Saturday I am duty bound to look after Steven in terms of recovery and his legs. When you get older that is not sometimes not kind to you. But if it’s Saturday to Saturday it is not a case of looking after Steven, he has come to the club albeit to learn and develop as a coach, but he wants to play week after week.

“That leads right through the squad because if it gets to the stage where we are picking and choosing the games for Steven, it does not set the right guide for the rest of the squad, other than if we were faced with three games in a week. Steven can play every week if he is playing well.

“Small things mean a lot to me and the coaching staff, Monday’s training session was really good. The boys applied themselves properly and got the right distance into their legs. Conditioning wise they have got themselves into a good place and it is important when players aren’t playing that they are training properly and working hard so if the opportunity comes that they have to do the business on a Saturday that they are ready to help the team.”



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