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Adkins takes pressure off

10 January 2014

Boss' open-minded approach

So often in football, there is talk of going 'back to basics' and simply reverting to type when results have not gone your way.

But after a disappointing run, Nigel Adkins is not just sticking with the old tried and tested, and has spoken this week about being open-minded and receptive in his approach.

To that end, he held one of his regular team meetings with the players and staff on our first day back after the Brighton defeat, and he is 'taking the pressure off' as we approach the remaining 22 games.

He said, "I was disappointed last week because I wanted to go on a cup run, the FA Cup is special. We've come off the pace in the League but we are still in the race, and sometimes adversity brings you closer, makes you stronger.

"You have to keep doing the right thing, but also be open-minded to know that there's another way of doing things too. I think I'm like that, I'm quite open-minded and you forever analyse what you can do differently.

"There's a certain way we'd like to play, but at the moment we need a win. If we get that, the momentum is in our favour. The short term aim is to win, and the long term vision is still in place."

The boss still has a strong desire to finish in the top two, but is pragmatic enough to admit that our first focus needs to be on the top six.

He said, "We didn't have the greatest Christmas period, there's 22 games to go, a great challenge and we're still bang on for a play-off position at the end of the season. We wanted to be in a position where we could win it, and I still want that, but we have to be realistic as well. 

"It's not beyond us, we need to win the majority of our games if we're to win the League, and the top teams would have to lose a hell of a lot of games, so like I say we need to be realistic.

"I want to be in the Premier League and it was important to regroup, we had a good meeting on Tuesday, re-focused everybody's mind. There's a positivity moving forward and still a long way to go.

"We need to keep our belief, we know we've got good players to come back from injury, then an energy and desire throughout the club to do well. We're up for the challenge.

"If anything, we take the pressure off ourselves. Maybe my drive and my ambition puts a lot on people, but perhaps now we've taken the pressure off. We're on track for the play-offs, we keep a smile on everyone's face, the camaraderie."

He continued, "There's a book Slump Busting by Alan Goldberg, whereby you look at the physical, technical, tactical, mental and social aspects.

"So we stick together, keep it simple, work hard with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. You also have to give players belief, because when results go against you, confidence can be knocked.

"At this point you believe in yourself and your teammates, keep a common goal and it will turn around."

Looking ahead to Saturday's game, he said, "Watford were in the play-off final last season, everyone's favourites to go up but it hasn't quite worked out, Gianfranco has moved on, the new manager looks lively on the touchline so I'm looking forward to that! They are a good side with good players, but so are we.

"They still play similarly under the new manager, the same way Italy do, as I say they're a good team and they've just signed a couple of players.

"For us, we need to threaten the goal more, and keep working hard with the personnel we've got."

Updating supporters on the club and our transfer plans, he said, "There's talk about the ownership, which is good because there will be good investment in time but we just have to be patient. There's nothing I can report on at the moment. Everything is going on quietly behind the scenes and we need to let the hierarchy sort all that out.

"Until then we wait patiently, keep pushing for it to be done as quickly as possible. Nick Hammond is very active behind the scenes and it will come to light when it's all done. We're just concentrating on Watford and we've done a lot of preparation for that. We've got nine or ten players out injured, like everyone has players out, you have to deal with it.

"We want to be as strong as we can for the last months of the season. Of course, a week after the January window shuts, we can do loan deals, so we can still keep improving the group."

Lastly, on the injury front, Nigel said, "Nick Blackman has trained, which is good and important we keep that positivity because he's been in a good run of form. We'll see how he reacts overnight. Jobi we're hopeful on.

"Michael Hector has trained all week and is looking in good nick so he'll be involved, and Gozie Ugwu and Aaron Tshibola will travel with us as well."

Now on YouTube, Adkins looks ahead to Vicarage Road.

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