Following Saturday’s fantastic away victory at Hednesford Town, manager Danny Johnson has praised his players but warned them of the danger of over confidence. The gaffer, whose wife Nicola gave birth to their third child on Saturday, has been pleased with the start his team has made so far this season. However, he believes his team still has plenty of work to do if they are to sustain their position at the top end of the table.
‘Expectations need to be managed’ claims the gaffer. ‘We all, and that includes the supporters, need to realise that we have no divine right to go out and beat any team at this level of football. Now that we have won a couple of games people will start to look at us and just expect us to win! I have been in this game far too long to realise that football isn’t that easy and it has a nasty habit of biting you on the back side once you take your foot off the gas and become over confident. It is down to my management team and I to instil this into our players, our supporters also have a major role to play. If things aren’t going particular well in a game, it isn’t because the lads don’t care or aren’t giving 100%, it can be an accumulation of many different things. We didn’t lose to Marine last week because we are a bad side, we lost because we made individual mistakes and we didn’t get that little bit of luck you sometimes need to win games. In fact, we were much the better side for the vast majority of the game and should have won quite comfortably.’
‘When we have games like that and like we did in the FA Cup (Marine) and FA Trophy (Ossett Town) the lads need the help of the supporters before, during and after games. When we lose it will never be for the want of trying, it will never be because we didn’t want to win and it certainly won’t be because we are a bad side. If our supporters continue to get behind the lads and that includes on the fans forum after the games, you will always get everything from this group. Ashton United as a football club is a very close knit community and if we are to move forward as a club it needs to stay that way, we can’t afford to have a divide and people pulling in different directions. We all need to stay as positive as we possibly can and encourage each other rather than being negative following a defeat or a mistake. The recent FA competition defeats weren’t good enough and the players themselves were disappointed at those recent defeats. They work extremely hard away from the games and they accept that they let themselves and the club down but they certainly didn’t lose those games because they didn’t care.’
Although I wasn’t at the game on Saturday I have heard lots of very positive aspects about the way we played and went about our business. Winning is always nice but to win in the fashion we did was very pleasing indeed. Taking a two goal lead into half time in any game in this league will always give you a chance of winning the game but we also know that no team in our league will roll over. Teams of the calibre of Hednesford will always respond as Witton Albion did last Saturday. We can never become over confident and take our foot off the pedal; we must now work on our killer instinct and see teams off when we have them on the ropes. If we are to win games consistently in this league we need to discover a ruthless streak. We are too casual and care free in the oppositions last third and this is something we really need to improve on. We have good experience all over the pitch this season and I certainly expect us to maintain our good start to the campaign. In previous seasons a few injuries and suspensions has seen us fall off the pace but I expect this group of players to improve and over the coming weeks/months rather than falling away.’