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Mark: "It Is Going To Be A Really Tough Game"

15 February 2020

Silkmen Head Coach Mark Kennedy is expecting a tough game against Exeter City this afternoon, but is confident that we will have an answer for their potent goal threat.

The Grecians have scored eight goals in their three matches this month as they continue their assault on the automatic promotion positions.

“It’s going to be a really tough game,” he said.

“They are flying high off the back of a good win on Tuesday against Oldham and they beat Stevenage the week before that.

“They are a very good side and they have got good players all around. We understand their style of play and how they do things.

“I’m not saying they won’t change it against us, but we have got a very good understanding of what they do, but more importantly as I keep on saying it’s about what we do and how we can impose ourselves on the game – and I am really looking forward to it.”

Mark is eager to return to the Moss Rose after two games away from home, and believes our home record will be advantageous this afternoon.

“Our [home] record this year has been outstanding,” he said.

“We have only lost two at home and since I have come in, I keep on saying how I think we are a very tough team to break down.

“Our structure is really good, especially off the ball; our ‘keeper goes home most weekends having not been too busy.

“So, I’m happy with that aspect of where we are and when playing at home even more so. With the fans behind us and in our home stadium, obviously that gives us an advantage; whoever we are playing against.

“I am not saying that makes us clear favourites, because it doesn’t, but having experienced high level football for 27 years, it’s a lot easier playing at home than it is away.”

As well as having a strategy in place to try and deal with Exeter’s threats, Mark is confident that we will be able to cause Exeter problems with our shape and discipline – which have been a focus since our midweek defeat at Morecambe.

“I was very clear on what cost us the game on the night, and I was beyond angry – to say I was angry would be an understatement.

“The reason I was angry was not because of how we played, I thought we played well, I thought we dealt with the elements well – for those who weren’t there, it was extraordinary elements for both teams.

“My biggest gripe is, I wouldn’t say a lack of professionalism, but people taking out instructions to the letter of the law, and goals that have cost us games this year no-one is opening us up, no-one is really working the goalkeeper, no-one is outplaying us.

“It is a lack of professionalism when doing your jobs from set pieces and normally we do well on set pieces and defend them very well.

“We have conceded four goals from set pieces this year, so any half intelligent man might say you are wrong there, but it’s the lack of concentration that has cost us and it is just unforgivable - it is not acceptable, and it will not be acceptable."

When discussing the squad’s mentality, Mark spoke of the impact he hopes his midweek sessions will have come 3:00pm this afternoon.

“I think it is more a mental thing," he said.

"We have bright players, we have intelligent players, so we have sat them down and been through videos and analysis.

“When you look back on those four goals that we have conceded, we looked back through it at what went wrong and what happened.

“It is a bit of a crime but when you go back through it and see it, it’s like wow – we have really done that.”

After analysing some of the mistakes from recent weeks, Mark is convinced that they can be ironed out relatively easily and called for more concentration from his players at times.

“Our team meeting was extremely, extremely positive; but we cannot shy away from the things that are costing us points.

“The thing that I’m really pleased with is that I think the mistakes are really simple to fix, and the players think that as well.

“But the bottom line is that if you don’t carry out what you’re being told to do, you’ll sit beside me on a matchday; and if that doesn’t stimulate your brain, I’m not sure what will.”

This afternoon’s match marks the first of a difficult run of games against some of the league’s leading sides, but Mark is looking for us to push on and take advantage of our home form as we look to pull away from the danger area.

“It doesn’t matter to me whether we are playing Swindon or Stevenage. They are all tight, tough games.

“The levels in the league are a lot narrower than they are in the Premier League from top to bottom, but we go into the game thinking we can win, and Saturday is no different.

“Our run of games coming up are outstanding games against outstanding quality - but I am really looking forward to it.”

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