Daryl McMahon was much more satisfied following his side’s point at Sutton than he had been midweek as he saw a massive defensive effort resist a powerful second-half performance from the hosts.
“They play a diamond so we had to get narrow when they’ve got the ball, they didn’t play with any wingers so we asked our lot to get narrow and then try and spring out,” McMahon told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster. “I think we tried to utilise the full backs to get them out quickly when we could. We did that really well in the first half in particular.”
“It’s probably the opposite of how we were Tuesday night when the technical element of our game wasn’t good enough and then it became a bit of a bitty performance and everyone got frustrated and then the goal’s poor so it makes it even worse. Today was what we’re more about, you can probably count on one hand the times we’ve chucked in a bad performance like the other night so it was good from the boys today.”
Not only was it an improvement on Tuesday but McMahon felt his side coped much better at a venue where the Fleet have historically been outmuscled and outplayed.
“If I’m being brutally honest, we played Sutton two years ago in my first year in charge, in pre-season as well, we got bullied both times,” he said. “We didn’t today. I thought they were probably a little bit surprised how we set up and how we went about our business. We were big, we were strong and you have to be in this division. Very committed performance, much what we asked for.
“[Sutton] are a good side and they’ve been for many years now, especially the last two or three. They’re difficult to play against on a 3G pitch but I thought we dealt with it really well.”
Naturally his defenders came in for praise, with Yado Mambo in particular showing no signs of rustiness, but McMahon also complimented Anthony Cook after his first full 90 minutes of league action since April. “Yads was outstanding. It was his type of games with balls being thrown down [Craig] Dundas’ throat or Lafayette’s and he is a colossus when the game’s like that,” the manager said. “Cookie was excellent, apart from that last minute when he could have maybe got a shot away he got a bit of a rush of blood to the head. All the lads did well, Coulson was very good and Bushy at left back as well today.”
Looking ahead to the Emirates FA Cup clash with Doncaster, the Fleet boss is pleased to have a clear week to plot a potential upset, with his counterparts busy in the EFL Trophy.
“It’s always helpful when you have a clear week,” he explained. “For all the teams it’s relentless in terms of the games, the turnover of games is massive. So that does affect your training ground time. When you play Tuesday night, you don’t train properly Monday. Thursday you don’t train properly because they’re recovering from Tuesday and then Friday it’s game prep for Saturday so you don’t get to do any real work. So this week we can sit down and go through Doncaster with a fine toothcomb.”
Listen to the full interview below.