Ebbsfleet boss Dennis Kutrieb watched his team win their first Kent derby of the season – and then thanked the visitors for doing his team talk.
The Fleet made it six wins out of six in National League South with a 3-0 victory over Dover on Bank Holiday Monday.
Dover assistant manager Mitch Brundle said the visitors were looking to burst the Fleet’s early-season bubble, but his words only seemed to drive Kutrieb on.
“It was a big help when I read KentOnline this morning that they want to burst our bubble,” claimed the Fleet boss.
“It was a big help for our boys in the changing room because that’s what you want to hear, you want to hear that people say ‘we’ll go there and win the game’ that’s what we want to do. That was a big help for me so thanks Mitch Brundle for this.
“We needed to work really hard, we knew we would get chances and could beat them with pace. We created enough chances to score goals, we scored three and I’m really proud of the boys.”
Kutrieb felt it was a difficult game against opponents who play what he described as ‘old school’ football.
Ebbsfleet’s lead looked slender at times in the second half but the Fleet boss felt his team were always in charge.
“It’s not easy, it’s hard work,” said Kutrieb. “They threw everything at us to score a goal, they put everyone under pressure with high balls into the box and tried to get second balls and go from there.
“I think it’s a little bit old school but it works as they already have a few points on the board. We knew it was a tough game for us because they know what they want to do and are good at it. It’s the complete opposite to what we want to do.
“I didn’t feel nervous (in the second half). The boys knew they needed to win their headers and show resilience in the air and that’s what they have done. With the back three of Luke O’Neill, Chris Solly and Haydn Hollis, I would be surprised if we did not (dominate) the stats of winning headers in the air.
“I don’t take that for granted as it’s one of the things where we lacked in the past and that’s why we signed the players we did. We wanted to have Haydn Hollis on the pitch as he’s very good in the air and that’s what they do, put the ball in the air, so we needed someone strong there.
“Everyone around our back three then picked up the loose ball and we were able to counter-attack. We said we can beat them for pace, and it played out on the first and second goal.”
Hollis was making only his second appearance for the Fleet. Dominant in the air, he will be used sparingly according to the Fleet boss.
“That’s the reason why he’s with us and we signed him,” explained Kutrieb. “We still want to be careful with him because he was out for a long time and even if he wants to go, I want to be careful with him because I want him for the whole season and not out injured.
“He’s an outstanding character, he wants to deliver on the pitch. When we want someone who can defend in the air, he’s my first-choice 100 per cent. He rarely loses a header.”