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Ebbsfleet United manager Dennis Kutrieb says harmony between players and supporters will be vital in battle for promotion from National League South

Manager Dennis Kutrieb believes Ebbsfleet’s players and fans need to be singing from the same sheet during the promotion run-in.

With 13 games remaining, the chase for honours in National League South is hotting up but Ebbsfleet cannot afford another drop in form.

Boss Dennis Kutrieb says solidarity between Ebbsfleet's players and fans is vital in the battle for promotion. Picture: Keith Gillard
Boss Dennis Kutrieb says solidarity between Ebbsfleet's players and fans is vital in the battle for promotion. Picture: Keith Gillard

Kutrieb feels they need to stick together because there are enough people from outside the club hoping they fail.

“As a club we need to stay tight together,” stated Kutrieb.

“There are enough people that are not on our side that want to see us make mistakes or not win our games.

“We need to make sure we stay as a team, with the fans, with everyone in the club because then you can win things (rather than) try to criticise or moan about things.

“That’s similar for me as a manager - you can imagine after we lost to Havant and Slough that I was the biggest critic for the boys anyway.

“So what they need (from the fans) is a lift, and a push forward. They get criticised by me. I know what they are able to do, I see them every day.

“If they don’t do it then of course I tell them. But on Saturday against Eastbourne I told them well done as well and gave them a hug to say I’m proud of them. It needs to be the right balance from both ways from my position.

“But from a fans’ point of view, I’d love to see them support them always, win or lose, because that’s what they deserve, they play for us and the badge and they want to succeed.”

Last Saturday’s 2-0 home success over Eastbourne came on the back of a run of just two league wins in seven games for Ebbsfleet.

That run has left the Fleet playing catch-up and, while expectations would have been for them to be battling for top spot at this stage of the campaign, Kutrieb was keen to take a realistic approach.

“Of course you know everyone is nervous and wants to get promoted, that’s very similar to me,” said the Fleet boss. “But I can just say I’m the worst loser in the world.

“There’s not one person, one fan, in the stadium who hurts more than me when we lose a game, no one needs to tell me when we’re not good enough.

“I can see exactly what is going on with my team, I can see if we’re good or not good, where we have to improve, because that’s my job. That’s the reason why I came from Germany to England, to do exactly this job.

“But the truth is we’re in National League South, we’re not in the Premier League.

“The best example was when I watched Arsenal (against Wolves) concede after 10 minutes, you can’t concede (that kind) of goal in the Premier League.

"We concede easy goals as well sometimes but we’re in National League South.

“We need to be honest and sometimes we’re too demanding. For me it’s the same, maybe for the fans and the club, everyone is very demanding for our boys. But we have to be honest, they do a good job, they fight hard and they want to improve.

“They are here for a reason in our league, if we make a mistake we have to get on with it. If we have the awareness like we had against Eastbourne and bring our players back, like Sefa Kahraman or Alex Finney, they are proper centre-backs for this league.

“If they are back on the pitch, of course we have a little bit more security as Chris Solly can play a bit higher and that helps us as a team.

“We can’t lose our heads because we lost (a number of) games.”

Fleet’s enforced desire for clean sheets will be put to the test at Bath this Saturday.

Kutrieb was more happy with his team’s defensive play than their offensive work last weekend, and he’s keen to ensure it’s not a one-off.

“Now we have one win, it doesn’t mean we get another one at Bath,” he stated. “But we have to make sure as a team that we have the same mentality, the same attitude, the same work-rate to say let’s go.

“We didn’t concede against Eastbourne and that’s the same aim next Saturday. Of course we can score goals all day long, like we showed against Eastbourne when we could have scored a few more.

“The most important thing was we got a clean sheet.

“But if we’d won 4-0 or 5-0, I wouldn’t stand here and say I’m very happy because it wouldn’t be deserved - 2-0 was the perfect result for me.”

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