Sammie Szmodics wants Colchester United to get “nasty”
Colchester United need to shed their “nice” image and start getting nasty, in the eyes of Sammie Szmodics.
Teenage midfielder Szmodics, who netted his third senior goal in Tuesday night’s 4-1 defeat at Sheffield United, wants the U’s to toughen up for the important run-in.
Tony Humes’ men are in a relegation battle, and at the moment it’s difficult to see them clambering out of the bottom four, especially as they have not managed to record back-to-back wins all season.
But there’s still 17 games to go, which equates to 51 points to play for, starting at play-off candidates Oldham Athletic this afternoon.
And Szmodics wants the U’s to stand toe-to-toe with the Latics.
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“We need to change something,” insisted Szmodics.
“I don’t think our football has been that bad. Everyone knows we need to score more goals, and we need to tighten up at the back.
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“But I think we have got to surprise teams by being a bit more nasty, and not just being pretty old Colchester United.
“Sometimes, I believe, we are too nice. That’s what we said after Tuesday (at Sheffield United).
“Ports (Chris Porter) even menioned it, that he hadn’t even seen someone hit someone with a tackle and leave them on the floor, in a fair way.
“League One is hard, it’s not just about pretty football, and you need a real arrogance in you to go and win a battle and win the ball.
“I think we showed that at an away game like Bradford (1-1), when we were under the cosh, but we didn’t show that fight enough at Sheffield United.
“We need to be more in people’s faces. We can’t always just be little old Colchester, like people think we are.
“Yes, we have got young players, but we need to start standing up for ourselves more on the pitch.
“I’m 19 now, and it’s a young group. We need leaders out there,” added Szmodics.
The U’s are currently four points adrift of safety, following Tuesday’s round of results, and they have a difficult set of fixtures for the rest of this month, with tough trips to Oldham and Doncaster sandwiching next week’s back-to-back home games against MK Dons and Bristol City.
The U’s players spoke briefly about the threat of relegation, in the away dressing room after the defeat at Bramall Lane, but otherwise the ‘relegation’ word will not be heard around the club.
“Everyone knows where we are. We all spoke after the Sheffield United defeat, and we know we are in the relegation zone, but the word ‘relegation’ isn’t being spoken about,” explained Szmodics.
“Obviously it’s in the back of some people’s minds, but we won’t be addressing that until seven or eight games to go.
“We spoke about it briefly after Shefffield, and what a horrible thing it would be to happen, but that’s the last time we will talk about it until the end of the season.”
It has been well reported that the U’s squad is predominantly a young one, packed with Academy products and youthful loanees, together with a smattering of more experienced players.
But Szmodics does not believe that age is a factor in the U’s current predicament.
“Age does not really matter, as we said after the Sheffield game,” continued Szmodics.
“There’s 11 players out there and it doesn’t matter if you are 19 or you are 30 or 31.
“Everyone has a role to play and a job to do, with its own responsibilities, and I think on Tuesday night none of us stuck to that enough.
“I think we’ve got a good mix of young and older players, but it’s all about having 11 men on the pitch. It’s not a boys’ game anymore,” concluded Szmodics.”