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Groves Praises His Team

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 15/04/2002

"THE players have been absolutely magnificent since December 28 when we came in. They really have turned everything around, and credit to them, they have been brilliant. It is all about the players."

"People like Graham Rodger and Paul Wilkinson, who have been working alongside me, have been working very hard, but it is all about the team effort and they are part and parcel of the team."

So said Grimsby manager Paul Groves after the victory that preserved the Mariner's first division place. In an interview with the Grimsby Telegraph he continued; "The fans have been magnificent too. There have been quite a few games at home where the pressure has been on and they have showed their support both in numbers and vocally, and they have played a major part in this run-in and getting this football club safe."

The GET pointed out that a staggering 28 points have been amassed in 19 league games under the Groves regime, with the team topping the form league recently, even eclipsing runaway champions Manchester City.

"I think, if we were honest, when we first came in we were staring relegation in the face, there is no doubt about it. We were adrift, we had won one in 20, and although performances weren't too bad, we weren't picking up many points."

"It was a slow start even for ourselves. Although we won we went into it with a 3-5-2 formation and we wondered if we could get players back quick enough to change to a 4-4-2, because most of the players here are comfortable with that."

"When we were able to do that and bring in players like Andy Todd, Martin Pringle and Robert Taylor to give us a helping hand, that was when our form and consistency started to pick up."

"Once we settled things down (with the formation) the confidence started to come back with some of the performances. They were gradually getting better and we thought we were taking small steps week-in week-out and that is due to the players, the way they approach things, the way they were prepared to work hard and dig in for each other."

"Confidence is a big thing in football and what we have tried to do is get everyone playing to their own strengths and get the best out of them, and to do that the players have had to be receptive to what we tried to do when we worked with them.

"That's what happened, and if you speak to most of them, they have enjoyed this spell." "It was hectic at first, but things settled down and the players helped as well. Then came the routine and we picked up some momentum from there really. Because we are safe what has been done has not really sunk in, but come the end of the season then it will and it will hit us what we have achieved, and I believe we have achieved something good here. The players must take all the credit because they are the ones who have turned it all round."

On next season Groves said: "It is going to be difficult, resources are small and we have to maximise them, but the club is run well and hopefully we can go on, take this form and start with it next season."

"We haven't finished our programme yet though. We are going down to Millwall and there are three points to play for and that is what we will be going for."

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