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Maidstone United midfielder Michael Phillips says National League is harder than League 2

By Craig Tucker

Michael Phillips claims National League football is tougher than League 2.

Maidstone midfielder Phillips has been surprised by the quality with United fighting for survival.

The former Crystal Palace youngster has been an important player, operating in numerous positions under three different managers, but his first full season in men's football has been tough.

Michael Phillips has played in numerous positions for the Stones this season Picture: Andy Jones
Michael Phillips has played in numerous positions for the Stones this season Picture: Andy Jones

He said: "If I’m honest I didn’t expect the non-league level to be as hard. I think it’s harder than League 2 in my opinion.

"There’s big teams in this league, big players, it’s very underrated and it shows by where we are in the league how tough it is.

"But we are capable of being mid-table or even fighting for promotion if we're at it from the start of games.

"We need to be consistent for 90 minutes - that's what the new management have been drilling into us."

The season could still end on a high if Maidstone achieve survival and go all the way in the FA Trophy.

Phillips said: "That’s my dream, to play at Wembley. I’ve never played at Wembley before.

Michael Phillips gives Maidstone the lead in their FA Trophy win against Salford on Tuesday Picture: Andy Jones
Michael Phillips gives Maidstone the lead in their FA Trophy win against Salford on Tuesday Picture: Andy Jones

"First of all we need to get out of this mess and if we do that, and go to Wembley, it would be the best thing that’s happened in my career.

"We're on the right path. We're three unbeaten if you count the Trophy and we just need to keep that run going.

"Hopefully this is the turning point."

The new management team of John Still and Hakan Hayrettin have been getting their message across.

And Phillips feels their approach on the training ground is exactly what's required.

Michael Phillips celebrates his goal against Salford Picture: Andy Jones
Michael Phillips celebrates his goal against Salford Picture: Andy Jones

He said: "I think the intensity has gone up. Training is sharp and it’s something we needed.

"I’m not saying the other managers were doing anything wrong but we didn’t train at as high a tempo as we should have in my opinion.

"Since John and Hak’s been in, it’s been hard but good.

"It’s hard having three managers in a season but the lads have been good."

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