John McGreal: Colchester United would have made the play-offs with a few more games

U's boss John McGreal, who felt that his side would have made the play-offs if there had been a few

U's boss John McGreal, who felt that his side would have made the play-offs if there had been a few more games to play. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, felt that the finish-line appeared just too early for his side to make the League Two play-offs last season.

The U’s finished a mere one place adrift of the top seven, and just one point behind seventh-placed Blackpool, at the end of the regular season.

The Essex club finished with a bang, on an unbeaten five-match run, and McGreal believes that if the campaign had lasted for a few more games, than his injury-ravaged team would have claimed a top-seven berth.

“A few people have already mentioned that you could write a book on my first season in management,” explained McGreal, reflecting on his first season at the helm.

“There have been many highs and lows, and then really big highs towards the end of the season. We were always playing a little bit of catch-up late on, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first season.

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“It’s a great opportunity to manage this football club, and I was delighted that we took it all the way to the final weekend.

“We never managed to get our fate in our own hands. But as I said to the lads – it’s not as if we have failed, we just ran out of games, and that’s what I believe.

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“If there had been another four or five games to go in the season, then I think we would definitely have got into the play-offs.

“Obviously we played all 46 matches and we didn’t get in, but I was delighted to take it to the last game, and I was delighted with our fans and how they turned up in their numbers for that last match (2-0 win over Yeovil),” added McGreal.

McGreal was officially appointed as the new boss last May, as a successor to Kevin Keen, but he did not take over until after the final game of the season.

The 44-year-old ex-Tranmere, Ipswich and Burnley defender can be rightly proud of his first season in senior management, although he admits that it is has been a steep learning curve.

“You are always learning, even when you are wining football matches,” continued McGreal.

“We tried to bring in different ways of keeping hold of leads when we got ahead, and there were also times during our (13-game) winless run this season when we have thrown away points.”

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