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Tis: 'We are getting the basics right'

Exeter City manager looks forward to Saturday's home match with Crewe Alexandra

14 September 2017

Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale says a return to some ‘good, old-fashioned basics’ has been the key to the team’s impressive start to the season.

The Grecians have won six and drawn one of their opening seven matches of the campaign to top the League Two table.

Having lost in the play-off final last season, it is a solid start to the new campaign, especially having lost key players in Ollie Watkins, David Wheeler, Joel Grant and Jack Stacey from the first team squad.

However, Tis admits it is easy to keep the players grounded as having that focus is something they spoke about in the summer.

“I made a decision that we would start the season again with some good old-fashioned basics,” said Tis. “The temptation was, having had a really good season last year, to try and get even more clever.

“However, we built our form and our style over a period of time last year and, in the summer, we lost key personnel and it would have been quite a challenge to make us even more creative or even more pass-orientated.

“So we have just started back with basics again, so let’s just stick with that. It has put us in a really good shape for this first month or two. We are in all the games we are playing. We are competitive in all the games. We are giving ourselves a good chance of winning.

“So, I’ll be asking the players to stick to that and we are going to avoid the temptation to become over pleased, over confident and all those things you can do if you are not focused enough.”

Reuben Reid has been one of the key performers in the early part of the season, netting seven goals in seven appearances. However, Tis points out that it is a team effort and their success is as much down to the good defensive work they do as it is their attacking play.

“I think one goes with the other,” he said. “You need a good defence. When the team is defending well the strikers are not under too much pressure to score.

“And if the strikers score, the defenders are relaxed and focused on their jobs.

“So, one goes with the other and I have had many a period at Exeter where that hasn’t worked.

“We will make the most of it and enjoy it while we have got it, but with Ollie Watkins and David Wheeler moving on it was really important that someone stepped up and kept those goals going in.

“We were a free-flowing high-scoring team in this league last season. We have to defend as well and we are doing that really well at the moment but it is a team effort.

“We all attack together and we all defend together and it is one game at a time. I suppose Reuben epitomizes what I have just commented on, in the need for the team to concentrate on the basics and not be too clever and not try and become too fancy and just stick with some basic, committed play. Reuben is doing that at the moment and he is getting his rewards.”

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