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Robbo: We need to show more character and personality

Mark Robinson praised 19-year-old Archie Procter's leadership skills after his full debut

3 February 2021

Interim Manager Mark Robinson said there will be no ‘quick fix’ to bring about positive change for the current squad as he seeks to instil a winning mentality.

Speaking after the 3-1 defeat at Oxford United, Mark said that 19-year-old Archie Procter displayed the leadership skills that others need to follow.

“The biggest thing I’ve said is that the boys have to find some personality,” said Robbo. “There’s a lack of personality, and they agree. There’s a lack of character. To win football matches you need to have personality and character. It involves communication and demanding more from each other, but that will come. People have held their hands up in there, which is part of the process, so that’s a good thing, but it doesn’t make the defeat any less painful. We had a chance to go to Wembley and we wanted to go there.

“It was Archie’s first 90 minutes in first-team football and I thought he did lots of good things. There are things he knows that he didn’t do well enough, but the thing is with Archie is that he’s his own biggest critic. In terms of his leadership and his talking – and I said this in the dressing room – it’s embarrassing because he was the noisiest player on the pitch. He has just turned 19 years of age, and they have held their hands up. This is the personality and character that we have to find. It’s not a quick fix, it’s about how we lead our lives every single day.

“Before Glyn brought me closer to the first-team we used to go out in tracksuits and players used to throw them on the floor. We had ‘Rocket’, who lives and breathes this club, going around picking up tracksuits. These are the sort of things that have to change at this football club. That sort of thing doesn’t happen at the best: you are a family, you are together, and you fight for each other. You sit in the dressing room, it doesn’t have to be noisy because you look left and right and you know that you have characters who will perform. These are things that people think, ‘what’s it got to do with football?’ It has everything to do with football because we conceded tonight because of a lack of personality and character.”

Robbo praised young players including Jack Currie and Huseyin Biler for showing the right credentials after making their debuts.

“When they came on, their training regime was very evident: pass and move, bright, and on the front foot. They are young lads and I’m not saying they are going to play in our first-team right now. I thought Jack started nervously in the first five minutes, but once he made his first tackle you could see he is a young player with real quality. Huseyin came on and showed absolutely no fear at all, he took a grip. You could see their mentality, they are proactive, they are on the front foot, and they are a product of their training. That’s the key to where we have to go as well because our transitions are not good enough, we don’t find first passes quick enough. There are so many things around how you build momentum and lots of things to work on, but there’s nothing I’m standing here thinking ‘it can’t be fixed’. It can be fixed, it’s not going to be fixed overnight, but it can certainly be fixed.

“The lack of personnel is what it is. As a manager that’s what you have to deal with, so even losing Will two hours before the game, that’s part of it. That side of it hasn’t bothered me at all, it’s the manner of defeat and the goals conceded again. I knew it wasn’t all going to come together after a one hour training session. I knew there would be things that we looked at and thought ‘we are going to have to do that a lot better’. Apart from the first couple of minutes I thought we looked okay. We probably had the better chances up until the goal, and the first goal we conceded was just so poor.

"We need a stable framework to build off. The boys have made it quite clear that they want to play more football, they want to dominate the ball more going forward and I’m with them because you have to be able to rest on the ball at times. You need to be able to turn teams and be exciting and all that stuff, but you also need to have possession to rest and give people a breather. We lacked quality at times, but it was more the goals. At 0-0, I felt we were in the game, young Archie was making his debut and doing well, and we had different players, but that didn’t bother me. There were lots of things going on that I’m looking at and thinking, ‘okay, that will work better after a while’. Stuff that we’ve talked about and haven’t had a chance to put into practice yet.”

Robbo was assisted with first-team duties last night by our Under-18s manager Rob Tuvey, who he described as 'a fantastic young coach' and the pair are pictured above at the Kassam Stadium last night. Click on the link to listen to Robbo's full interview, plus you can also watch the highlights from last night's game below.

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