More belief = more wins, says boss

Dennis Kutrieb was more than satisfied with his side’s application as they put the disappointment of an early goal conceded well and truly behind them to see off Concord Rangers on Tuesday night.

And the Fleet boss could feel the relief and belief surge through his players as they scored two – and could have added several more – after a recent fallow period.

“You can see on the pitch they believe they are good enough to win games,” Kutrieb told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster. “Now we need a little bit better game management, when to make the right decision to score a third goal, or when it’s right to take your time, when it’s the right time to press higher and higher.

“I think they feel a little bit of relief as well. They don’t tell us, but I’m sure they feel pressure because they want to win games. They have the chances, when you see the second half against Dorking where we had so much possession, created a few good chances, Woody hitting the crossbar, cleared off the line.

“And they have doubts for sure, they’re human beings. They start thinking about what the hell is going on, and you can see when they score a goal, they feel so relieved and so happy together. I feel happy for them because that’s what they need. And when they believe more and more, we will get more wins for sure.”

But just as Kutrieb doesn’t get too low after a defeat, he also cautioned against getting too high after a win – not that he wasn’t delighted to get it.

“It’s not the end of the world when we lose against Dorking a week ago and it’s not the top of the world now where we win and get three points,” he advised. “I think it was deserved. At the end we had a little bit of luck [although] I thought it was offside but the lino didn’t raise his flag, so that was a little bit lucky. But I’m very relieved for the boys that they get the win. The most important point today is that we get the three points, but we have to learn to punish the opponent and to kill them off, that we get the third goal and then the game is done. We have to adapt things a little bit quicker so that we score a third goal and then we don’t have to have doubts about whether we get [the result] over the line or not.

“[Their goal], that’s what I mean when I say it’s a little bit unlucky sometimes. In the first minute, the first situation where they have the ball, a weak throw-in from us, we lose the ball, one pass, the post, then in. That’s terrible but the boys kept working and got a goal.”

There were solid performances across the pitch but Kutrieb singled out a pair of debuts – Adam Mekki’s debut as skipper and Chris Solly’s first game for the club.

“It was a great game from a few of the boys,” said the manager. “They worked their socks off. That’s what we want to see from them, to deliver the basics. Chris Solly’s first game, I think in the 90 minutes he made just one mistake, one wrong decision. Mekki as well, a really great game, he stepped in as a leader. The two of them had a big game today and all the rest of the boys are fighting and they want to win, they want to do it better.

“I’m very happy Chris Solly played his first game for us because you can see, he gave us a great impact.”

Chris Solly in Fleet action for the first time

The club’s online Q&A session earlier this week saw Kutrieb answer questions on a range of topics including fresh recruitment but the Fleet boss reiterated that will happen only when it is of sure benefit to the club.

“Not at the moment [are signings coming in]. We are not at this point where we need new players and it has to happen [now]. We always said if there is something that makes sense for us, and it makes sense for players, then we’ll have a look at it because we don’t want to have players only to have them. I said yesterday in the Q&A as well that I felt a little bit embarrassed when I see on every teamsheet every week from the opponents, all of them played for Ebbsfleet United in the past.

“That’s not what I want to have. I want to have special things here at Ebbsfleet, that [players] feel special for the club and they want to stay here. We want to change that so the doctor, Damian and me, we are all on the same page.”

Fleet’s next two games are on the road, with trips to Hampton and Slough, and Kutrieb is expecting another couple of tough encounters.

“We have to look day by day after today. Now we have to recover then we will see who’s in on Thursday, who’s fit for Saturday. There’s a little bit of game management there because then we go on Tuesday at Slough. It’s a 3G pitch. Hampton’s not such a good pitch, so we have to be prepared for it.

“Hampton are a really good team, I saw them now two or three times, they play really good stuff. So we need a really tough performance on Saturday as well.”


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First-Team Squad