FOOTBALL

Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff: These games are a “free hit”

Cheltenham manager Michael Duff is happy with his side’s tactical flexibility heading into tomorrow’s match against Bury.

His team lost 4-2 to another team in the top three, Mansfield, on Saturday but he felt that there was nothing in the game.

He said: “I thought we were good value for, well I thought we should have got a point.

“We managed to score two away from home at a tough place.”

He continued to give more credit to high-flying Mansfield but says he was happy with the way his team restricted the home side until they made a change.

“The way they play, they do it really well. With the way they play with that box in the middle of the pitch and it’s difficult to deal with. I thought we dealt with it well.

“It’s quite a big thing for a top of the league to have to change their shape, to recognise that “we’re not getting anything out of this”.”

The attention now turns to Bury tomorrow evening and since losing to the second place side back in November, Cheltenham have seen a great improvement in performances and results. Duff says that this is down to the players themselves.

“We’ve tried to help them as much as we can but they’re the ones who have to get it over the line and deliver” Duff explained.

“These games aren’t really our market at the moment. They’re a free hit.”

It’s another tough fixture for Cheltenham but Duff indicates that these games have less pressure than those against teams in and around them in the table.

He said: “These games aren’t really our market at the moment. They’re a free hit.

“We’ll be looking to give a good account of ourselves. They’re bonus points really.

“I think they’ve got better as well but we’ve definitely improved and results will tell you that.”

Duff made an interesting tactical change at half-time during the game against Macclesfield but says that Ben Tozer, one of the subjects of this change, took it quite well.

“It’s nice to know that we can flip it. Toze (Tozer) took it and realised it wasn’t because of his performance. It was a tactical change.

“He was the captain at the time and he was around all the lads getting them ready to go back out.

“I think that shows the mentality of the group that it’s not about any one individual it’s about the 11.”

Duff’s happy with the tactical flexibility he has at his disposal but the manager says that in the end it’s down to the players to take it on.

“It’s up to the players to deliver. We can move markers around on the board, that’s easy.

“I think Gary Neville found that it’s not as easy as it is to just move markers around.

“The players have to take the credit for taking on the formation, the tweaks and the changes.

“It doesn’t matter who’s in the team. The players are here for a reason, the players are here because we think they’re good.

“Whoever it is at any one moment they’ll know their roles and responsibilities and it’s up to them to deliver a performance.”

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