Cards’ boss pleased with team’s attitude

CARDS’ boss Darren Sarll says he is picking up everything he needs to know about his players from their reaction to his coaching feedback.

Sarll has now completed his first month in the Cards’ hot seat – and that has given him time to get a feel for each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. And the former Yeovil Town manager is determined to improve every one of them, even if that means difficult conversations.

Max Kretzschmar slots home for the Cards

He said: “My style of management is always to address what’s in front of me. The filter comes off when I’m at football and I always say what I think. That might be an awkward conversation or delivering constructive criticism – but that’s what 70% of coaching is, observing weaknesses and trying to make them better.

“What I’m trying to ascertain in these periods when I do deliver something to the player is: Do I get anything back? Do I feel a connection where all of a sudden we go into a joint discussion about their ability to be better? Do they reject that information?

“I’m looking at these things all of the time. It’s really interesting when they do arise. You can never tell when they will, but it’s always a learning curve for me and the player. I really enjoy that part of my job. I love awkwardness, I like being the one maybe asking the questions that nobody else has ever asked.

“That’s why I think that in my career I’ve always been renowned as someone who gets a little bit more out of a player, especially ones that have may have been termed as difficult or problematic in the past.

Woking manager Darren Sarll enjoyed the victory against high-fliers Wrexham on Saturday

“I’ve enjoyed working with those players. To me, they’ve just got a different character – it doesn’t mean they’re wrong or bad people.”

Ahead of the campaign’s culmination, Sarll says he has been impressed by the displays of wingers Tyreke Johnson and Jamar Loza of late, but is prepared to be flexible about how the Cards play next season given the likely summer squad churn.

“At the moment, I think the wide players here are very good. Jamar has been a real pleasant surprise in recent weeks in terms of his performance levels. So we’re focusing a lot of our play in the flank positions,” he said.

“Next year that may change. There may not be those flank players, it might be different players or we have to use alternatives to bring the best out of our team.

“The biggest thing whenever we talk about philosophies is that, as a coach, you need to put your ego to one side.

“This is not Darren Sarll FC. It never will be. I need to make sure that I use our real strengths and top trumps as much as possible in order to get out the best performances which lead to wins. That’s all it can be.

“If we’ve not got the right type of central midfield players, we can’t play through midfield. If we’ve not got the right full-backs, we can’t get the ball wide.

“So you’ve really got to work out what you have, and build on what you have.

“What I’ve built on off the ball is attitude. Against Dover Athletic [a 4-1 victory on Easter Monday], we ran 4km further as a team than in any other game this season.

“That’s an incredible increase. So I actually think the only thing you ever have to address is attitude – because if the players feel professional, motivated, organised and physically fit, normally you get the best version of them in possession too.”

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