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Ebbsfleet United manager Dennis Kutrieb on the new National South season

Dennis Kutrieb is confident there will be no play-off final hangover when Ebbsfleet start the new National South season.

Fleet were seconds from victory at Dorking in May, only to concede a last-gasp equaliser and lose 3-2 after extra-time.

Ebbsfleet United manager Dennis Kutrieb Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ebbsfleet United manager Dennis Kutrieb Picture: Barry Goodwin

Defeat was hard to take but it’s out of Fleet’s system as they prepare to open the new campaign at home to Chippenham on Saturday (3pm) - the team they beat in the play-off semi-finals.

“The players are experienced enough to see you can’t change it anyway, so you just need to let it go and go again,” said boss Kutrieb, whose side completed pre-season with a 5-1 home win against Herne Bay last weekend.

“We have another season, another chance. It’s not like the Olympic Games where you have the chance every four years, you have the chance straight away.

“A few weeks later you can start pre-season and hopefully we can grow from this defeat and do better during the season.

“In tough spells in a game, maybe it can give everyone a small push to do this extra run or push a little bit more to get a winner.

“We’ll see but I see a forward-looking group, a good unit.

“It’s more difficult for the management and the club, the chairman or the CEO, because it’s preparing, it’s planning, it’s so many things.

“But, for players, they go again, they try to do it better and that’s a positive.”

Fleet have recruited well, with the aim of keeping things tighter at the back after conceding 53 goals last season.

Among the new arrivals are goalkeeper Mark Cousins, who’s joined from Bromley, ex-Football League duo Luke O’Neill and Haydn Hollis, and QPR loanee Franklin Domi.

“We want to be more solid at the back because we conceded too many goals,” said Kutrieb.

“In the last part of the season we were OK but over the whole season we conceded too many.

“Attacking-wise, you could see we did many good things already because we scored the second or third-most goals, so it’s not like we have to improve massively there, but definitely we try to improve defensively.

“We put more attention on recruitment. You can see with Haydn Hollis, how experienced he is.

“We want to be careful with him because he hasn’t played much in the last two seasons, so we want to build him up slowly, but already in pre-season you could see he’s different kind of quality, he doesn’t lose any headers and, similar to Luke, he’s very experienced.

“Mark Cousins, as a goalkeeper, is a big addition as well, and Franklin Domi, as a young player, so you can already see four defensive players which give us more depth.”

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