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Ebbsfleet United boss Danny Searle’s man-management making a huge difference on and off the pitch

Ebbsfleet boss Danny Searle insists building relationships with his players is vital to their success.

Searle has only been at Stonebridge Road for little more than a fortnight but he’s having a huge impact on and off the field.

Danny Searle is creating positive vibes in the Ebbsfleet camp. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC
Danny Searle is creating positive vibes in the Ebbsfleet camp. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC

Two wins and two draws have seen the Fleet move out of the National League relegation zone and the manager believes the bond he’s developing with his squad is already proving beneficial.

“One of my big things is I speak to the players every day,” revealed Searle. “I try and have personal contact with them every day on an individual basis.

“I’m much better at it than I was five years ago and I’m sure I’ll be much better at it in five years’ time.

“You have to build, I like to think I’m a people’s person anyway, I get on with people, I like to give them time and I like to speak to people.

“I don’t think you can treat the players any different as they need to know you care because when the going does get tough that’s when they need to know that you’ve got their backs - and I have.

“In the short period of time I’ve been in the club, we’ve built quite a strong bond already. I’m looking forward to how that grows. It’s not always going to be four unbeaten - there will be times when we get beat and we have to roll our sleeves up and go again.

“I want to know how they are. They’ve got lives outside of football and sometimes it’s not great, things go wrong, and sometimes they’re really happy.

“Look at Myles Kenlock, he’s had his first baby and we’re really buzzing for him. We made sure that was at the forefront of our team talk on Friday. We needed to get around him because what a lovely experience that is for him.”

Boss Danny Searle says new father Myles Kenlock was at the forefront of Ebbsfleet’s team talk last week. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC
Boss Danny Searle says new father Myles Kenlock was at the forefront of Ebbsfleet’s team talk last week. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC

Asked if he had spoken to Dominic Poleon about his lack of goals after a six-game barren run, Searle added: “I speak to Dom all the time, he doesn’t give a lot away and would be a great poker player!

“But the thing that is good about him and really important from my perspective is that he shows great character when it’s tough and when he needs to work, he does work.

Read more: Fleet building momentum at ideal time

When he had his chance on Tuesday, he took it. They’re characteristics as well that we value, as not all players are the same.

“Dom’s a very interesting player. He keeps himself to himself, and he’s popular among the players. I thought he was outstanding on Saturday, he led the line really well with Rakish Bingham.

“Even on Tuesday, when you’re a centre-forward and you’re getting starved of the ball at times, it’s the key moments - when you do get your chance, we need you to take it and he did that to win us the game. As long as he does that, then we’ll keep smiling.”

The nature of the victory over Woking showed a different side to Ebbsfleet under Searle.

They brushed aside Eastleigh last weekend but had to dig deep to edge past a Woking team who remain in the relegation zone. So, was Searle as nervous as many in the Stonebridge Road crowd appeared to be?

“I think you have a natural nervousness,” he acknowledged. “As we said at half-time to the lads, you’re relying on them to make good decisions at good moments. There were definitely passages of play in the first half where we made poor decisions and we did it several times.

“You do get nervous and you think maybe this could be the night where the frailties that we’ve seen with the team before start to come to fruition. But to be fair to the lads, they didn’t.

“They got around each other and the positivity from the bench was important, we made sure everyone kept putting positive messages in and understands it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s how you react to that, and they reacted with an unbelievable shift from a work perspective.

“From a ball-playing perspective, we didn’t do what we were supposed to. But character is something I’ve spoken about since I’ve walked through the door.

“We have to have the character to stay up and we showed an abundance of that. If you add that to the lovely football we played on Saturday, they’re two great characteristics that when we need to revert to one or the other, we’ve got the ability to do so.

“It wasn’t our best day at the office in terms of performance but with our character, we got the result that was needed.”

Ebbsfleet travel to Dorking on Saturday. The sides are level on points but Wanderers, below the Fleet in the final relegation place on goal difference, have two games in hand.

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