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Maamria: "Desire & purpose"

23 April 2019

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Dino Maamria praised his players for the way they fought to a 1-1 draw against Exeter City on Monday…

Following three straight wins, Stevenage went into the game in fine form and full of confidence, but were met by an equally motivated group in the travelling Grecians who gave as good as they got.

“It was difficult. We gave everything we have got. The players have been absolutely fantastic, they got a standing ovation from the fans because of their effort, endeavour and purpose. But, they (Exeter) are not a bad team. I think the difference was that they made three good changes for them. We have a few players who have played too many games lately. Sonupe, Terence Vancooten and Joe Martin have all been out for a while. Then all of a sudden, they come back and play a lot of games.

“It was always going to be a grind today. The pitch did not help, the grass was very long, very dry. It was a good game; a point was fair for both teams. It was a hot day, the conditions were not easy, but you see the players’ desire and determination to keep going forward on empty tanks.”

The players weren’t the only ones to put in a good performance as Stevenage’s supporters got behind the team in their numbers.

“The fans have been fantastic pushing us, in great numbers today. There has been a good buzz in the town, and that is what I came here to do. It is positive, shame we did not give them three points as it would have been fantastic for us, for the town. We are still up there, and we will keep showing performances like that.

“Stevenage fans, that is what they want to see. They want to see a team that cares about their football. They want to see a team that plays with desire and purpose. We showed all that today.”

The result makes the task for Maamria’s men to sneak into the Play-Offs a little more difficult, with the gap remaining at two points with two games to go. Despite that, Maamria says that his team are trending upwards and it is still all to play for.

“We knew that. People before this game were saying it is a huge game – it was a big game but even if we won we would not be guaranteed a Play-Off spot anyway. We still have to go win the next two games regardless of today’s result. They are going to be difficult. Mansfield next week is going to be difficult, so is Cheltenham last game of the season. We will take it game by game.

“What I have got to do is get the players, keep them fresh for the next two or three days, look after them mentally and physically. It is quite demanding, mentally, to keep giving that and producing.

“We are in a good place, with four games unbeaten, three wins and a draw. Could have been better if we got the penalty, but it did not happen, and we will take the draw.”

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