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Interviews

Mark Bonner and Conor Masterson on Portsmouth

16 September 2021

Mark Bonner and Conor Masterson spoke to the local media ahead of The U’s trip to Portsmouth on Saturday…

The boss was up first to face the media.

  • On moving forward after Lincoln

"Any plan we had on Saturday took a real shunt after conceding so early, and that changed the flow of the game. Any period where there were not any goals, we actually controlled the game quite well; we had lots of entries into the attacking third but were just unable to turn them into real chances.

"Those moments where we had the chance to wrestle the game back, just went away from us – whether that was because of their good play or things we could have done better with, or a combination of both, has led to them scoring a couple of brilliant goals.

"I actually quite liked a lot of our play in the second half, and with the intent we played with. We just did not make the most in the moments we created, and we therefore were punished by a good team. It was a game we certainly learned a lot from, but we need to move on from it quickly.

"One thing that did happen too easy was how easy we were opened up through their counter attacks, partly because we tried to play with more attacking players on the pitch and be a little more forceful from the start of the game – that took a real turn after we conceded so early. We know we have got different ways to play, and that flexibility is certainly something that we will have to lean on in the weeks ahead.

"It has been good to get back on the training ground this week, despite the weather on Tuesday!

"I think it [the result on Saturday] just underlines the quality of the division, we are going to have to be at our absolute best if we are going to compete in games. I went to Lincoln on Tuesday night to see them play Rotherham, and Rotherham were outstanding. I think the more you watch of the games in this league, the more you appreciate the step up."

  • On Portsmouth

"I think you know what you are going to get when you are playing Danny and Nicky. They will be defensively well organised and excellent in transition. They have got some real quality in possession of the ball as well. Whilst they have not seen the return in goals yet that they would like to – they have certainly got plenty of threats.

"We know it will be a tough test for us, and we are going to have to try hard to create chances against such a well organised team. A tough game but one we can really look forward to going to Fratton Park, it is why we are here!

"Some clubs have such reputations for the atmosphere and fan bases, which can really help drive them on, but it can also work the other way, and create a pressure if it is not working so well. We need to try to frustrate them, however we also need to make sure we can cope with the atmosphere there is.

"It is 11v11 on the day, and it is what happens on the pitch which is the most important thing."

  • Team news

"We have got a squad of about 20 who are all fit and ready to go when asked upon, that meant Ben Worman, Adam May and Will Mannion all missed out on the matchday squad on Saturday. Obviously, when it comes to selection, it is about finding a balance with the bench. [On Saturday] We were playing with a more attacking line-up, so we wanted some more attacking players on the bench, as well as bringing Jubril [Okedina] back into the squad on the bench.

"Apart from Greg [Taylor], everyone is fit and ready to go, and we will have Adam May and Ben Worman available for selection once more.

"Leon Davies is doing well, the last two weeks has been good for him, he has had some full training sessions and some big group sessions to take part in. All being well, we will hope to have him in the squad on Tuesday against Tottenham.

"[On Leon Davies potentially going out on loan] I think a little bit will depend on the international break and if we have games called off, because we can then organise some in-house games he can take part in, and we can monitor how he is coping.

"We have played the same team in consecutive games once this season, I do not think results have been dictated because of the team we have put out, we have changed winning teams or taken players out who have played well. As normal we will pick a team that we think will give us the best chance of winning, whether that means playing the same eleven in a different shape or changing it up entirely.

"All that has changed in football over the years is the terminology, the actual systems have not changed, not really. I was really fortunate to have dinner with Roy Hodgson recently and he mentioned how society has changed, science has changed, technology has changed but football is still football."

U’s loanee Conor Masterson was next up to chat to the media.

  • On settling in at Cambridge

"I only found out two days before I had to play, Mark Bonner contacted me and basically said can you come up and train with the team on Friday and then play on Saturday! I was like 100%, I just want to play! It has been a privilege to be here, and I am really enjoying it so far.

"I was buzzing with the win and clean sheet [on his debut], but the lads really helped me, and Bonz, and together we were good on the day. What I realised about this group is that everyone is so together, and everyone really gets on well, off the pitch too.

"Right now I am feeling fit, I am feeling strong and I am relishing the challenges so far!"

  • On playing with Lloyd Jones again

"My and Lloyd [Jones] played together at Liverpool so it was easy to settle in next to him, and I think it will help us develop going forward. He was the one I went to when I arrived so I could settle in, but in truth everyone has made it so easy – we are just looking forward to bouncing back from Saturday now.

  • On moving forward after the Lincoln defeat

"There is some good players and teams in League One, I think because we went behind so early, I think we went chasing the game and made a mistake doing that. We should have stuck with what we are good at – we missed a trick there.

"Dealing with the game and the scenarios of the game, after going behind, we just wanted to go to the game back, when in reality, we should have relaxed, and because of how well we had been doing, our confidence is up, and we thought we could go and get back into it.

"We just want to put things right really, we know we are better and stronger than that – and we want to show the fans that on Saturday. I am buzzing for Saturday, because of the atmosphere and fans, we are all looking forward to it!"

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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