‘It’s been strange’ – Michael Clegg offers Warrington Rylands thoughts as Northern Premier League run-in claim made

Michael Clegg Warrington Rylands

Warrington Rylands manager Michael Clegg has opened up about the “strange” start to his new job.

The former Ashton United boss succeeded Jody Banim last month to become the Blues’ third head coach of the season.

He arrived at Gorsey Lane following his time as a scout with National League side Altrincham. Since taking charge, Clegg has yet to pick up a win in charge – drawing twice and losing his opening match in the dying embers against Whitby.

But there isn’t a cause for concern just yet for the Rylands boss although he has admitted that their mentality will have to change going into the latter stages of the Northern Premier League season.

“It’s been strange because we 100 per cent didn’t deserve to lose to Whitby, that one is still fresh in the memory – which I need to let go really,” said Clegg speaking to Off The Park.

“All three games have been pretty identical, there’s been some good moments, some poor moments, things we need to be better at but there is a really good base there, it’s just about knowing the level.

“Some lads have dropped down a level, some have come from lower down and some lads have got experience in it, it’s just keeping the good moments for longer.

“On Saturday when they went down to 10 men, the football we played was brilliant and I think if there’s anything I’ve enjoyed, it’s watching the team play – that’s been the best thing so far.

“They get it down and play and that’s driven us to work on it in training but then there’s been moments where we’ve lost the ball or not done things exactly as I’d like but it’s a funny one, we’ve just come in, you don’t want to change too much but you’re trying to implement stuff.

“Training has been of a really good standard and I feel like we just need to get over the line with a win – that’s it – and it’ll just breed confidence into everyone because it’s a really strong group.

“You can flip a coin with results in our league, I think we should’ve had a stonewall penalty against FC United when we were on top and in the second-half, Sean Cooke has a free header, double-handed push in the back should’ve had another penalty, we drew 0-0, goals change games,” he added.

“Against Whitby, they’re just announcing their goalkeeper as Man of the Match, our defender slips, we lose 1-0 and on Saturday, AJ [Leitch-Smith] is back, gone through one-on-one and missed two chances that you’d normally back him to score, goals change games.

“The preparation we are doing, we can only push it so far then the rest is on the players to go out there and grab that win.

“What I’ve said to them is we can’t just cruise home now, we really need to go and make our mark, work hard for lads who want to stay next year, lads who want deals elsewhere next year, there’s got to be a real solid end to the season for them lads,” he continued discussing their mentality going into the remaining matches.

“If we let games pass us by, it’s not good for anyone especially when we try build the crowd, build momentum, build how we want to play, winning breeds all of that so that’s what we need to do as quickly as possible.

“We’re taking one game at a time, Saturday it’s Gainsborough away and they’re flying. I’ve been there this season with Ashton, got beat 2-0 and they were really good so I’ve no doubt Saturday is going to be another really tough game but on a big, wide, open pitch it could be perfect for us.

“All them teams up there that’s where we want to be this time next year. We want to be going there and giving a really good account of ourselves, going there, playing on the front foot, playing with intent and that’s what we are going to do.

“We ended the game so strong on Saturday, they had 10-men but their quality of football was at a high level, it was against FC United and it was against Whitby at times but we need to make the most of those big moments, take chances, goals change games and breed confidence. That’s what we need to do.”

[Featured image: Warrington Rylands – Mark Percy]

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