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Ebbsfleet United manager Dennis Kutrieb says his team has improved during National League South campaign

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Ebbsfleet boss Dennis Kutrieb says his players’ desire to improve is driving their promotion push.

Second-placed Fleet’s title credentials face a big examination in the next fortnight, starting with trips to leaders Dorking Wanderers on Saturday and then third-placed Maidstone on Tuesday night.

Ebbsfleet manager Dennis Kutrieb. Picture: Keith Gillard
Ebbsfleet manager Dennis Kutrieb. Picture: Keith Gillard

But Kutrieb feels his team are continuing to get better - and says that process comes from within the playing squad as well as the manager.

“We need to improve during the season if we want to be successful,” said Kutrieb.

“I can see some teams in our league who are good at what they do but it’s not that they are massively improving.

“We are definitely a team that has improved. You need to have that (desire) from the whole club, from players and management.

“You need to have the right mentality, the staff that want to make players better and players who want to get better and have that desire to improve.

“That doesn’t change if you are in National League South or the Premier League.

“If you want to improve then we’ll help them - and this squad are willing to learn.”

Kutrieb believes every team should improve during the season - regardless of their level.

Some sides will chop and change their squad but the Fleet boss sticks to his methods - and players - confident that it will reap dividends over the long term.

“For me that’s how it should be for every team,” he reflected.

“They should be better than three, four, five months before - that’s the aim. That’s what we are here for.

“We want to be successful and improve, we can see a difference on many different levels on a daily basis - our intensity, our quality and more.”

Fleet’s improving squad - they’ve conceded just once in their last four games - travel to a Dorking side who sit four points clear at the top of National League South, albeit having played more games than their immediate rivals.

Kutrieb noted: “It’s an important game for us but it’s just three points - it doesn’t mean more than the Hemel Hempstead game.

“Of course we want to play the best teams in the league - and beat them as well.

“Dorking are a good club, they work hard and they want to be successful. They’ve brought some good players in and they are really pushing to get promoted.

“I like what they do and they are very welcoming as a club, but I want to get three points.”

Kutrieb then takes his Ebbsfleet side to Maidstone three days later - another tough match in a schedule the Fleet boss has previously acknowledged may determine whether they remain in the title race.

Maidstone won 3-2 at Stonebridge Road earlier in the season, and Kutrieb expects another tough challenge at The Gallagher.

“If a team beats us maybe we are more (aware) the next time, but I don’t expect Maidstone’s approach to be any different,” said Kutrieb.

“It will be similar to the first game, that’s how they’ve played during the whole season.”

On-loan keeper Josh Gould returned to Swansea earlier this week, leaving Chris Haigh as the Fleet’s only senior keeper.

Kutrieb is in no rush to find a replacement but wants another keeper to improve the squad.

“We want to have one more goalkeeper,” he confirmed. “We have a few different options we are looking at but there’s no rush as we have a good keeper anyway.

“Of course we want to replace Gould as he was a full squad member. You never know what can happen on a daily basis but sometimes it’s better to wait and see what happens.”

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