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Westley: The Boys Give Me Confidence

31 August 2012

Manager Graham Westley talks to the local press ahead of this weekend's League One clash against Swindon Town

“This weekend is a good opportunity to put in a really big performance in the league. I know the lads are looking forward to it and I’m sure they’re capable of living up to the hopes of everybody at Preston.”

“The fans have been terrific with us home and away, they’ve tolerated the results and I think they can see in the performances that there’s a care and a passion and a pride. 

“In any week it’s fantastic to get a win,” said the 44-year-old. “Playing at Deepdale is something that every player in the squad is loving doing. 

The Lilywhites’ game against the Robins follows the traditional beginning of the Preston Guild on Saturday, and while Westley isn’t getting caught up in the occasion, he feels that North End picking up their first win in the league in front of the Deepdale faithful would be a perfect way to round off the week.

“Provided that you always act in the best interests of the football club, provided that you know what you’re doing, in the end the fans will come round to your way of thinking. That’s my belief and I think that’s happening here.”

“So I expected to get a bit of stick – I probably got a bit more than I’d anticipated – but you’ve got to be big enough to stand behind the decisions you’re making, you’ve got to be brave enough to make the right decisions.

“The stick I was getting at the end of last season – you’ve got to be big enough to take that. If you’re going to come in and manage the type of change that I’ve managed and you expect that it’s all going to be plain sailing then you’re not thinking straight. 

“I think as a manager your relationship with the fans is only ever as good as your results on the pitch,” he continued.

Last season was indeed a test for the manager, but Westley feels that he now has fans onside after putting the club first in order to reach the stage he now finds himself at.

“They want to learn, they want to improve, and they want to get better. They’re forging themselves together and as a team they look a hungry and a passionate football outfit.”

“I was struggling to see where our next point was coming from last year. These boys give me a lot of confidence – they train day in, day out like winners do. 

“I played 21 games last season as a manager and I didn’t go into any games with confidence, which is bizarre for me because I’ve never played a game in my life and not believed that I was going to win it. 

“That can happen when you’re pulling a side together.  When you’re going through that sort of change the fluency of your attacking game is often lacking, but we’ve defended okay on the whole – we’re certainly looking better organised – and the other night was a step forward again. We were a lot more clinical going forward and the team performed well.”

“We’ve stuttered with our forward game – we’ve passed and retained the ball well, our possession’s been good, but we haven’t really been that clinical. 

“We’ve not lived up to that in the early league games; we’ve played much more in the league games like I probably thought we would do. 

“It’s very difficult to bring 17 new players in and to get them to gel. I thought the performance against Huddersfield was outstanding, as good probably as it could get at that stage. 

“I keep talking about an evolution,” the North End boss told the local press on Friday morning at the Deepdale offices.

Ahead of North End’s clash with Swindon Town on Sunday, the weekend the city will be celebrating the Guild, Westley spoke of his belief in his current crop of players and how he hopes to bring their cup form into the league.

Manager Graham Westley believes his new-look Preston side is gradually starting to come together following Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Crystal Palace.

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