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Torquay boss Gary Johnson: “Let’s not do what Manchester United did”

Torquay boss Gary Johnson has said “let’s not do what Manchester United did” ahead of his side’s upcoming league game this weekend.

The 65 year old has guided his club to the top of the National League table and are a fair way in front of Sutton United in second, nine points clear in fact.

However the Gulls won’t want to get too carried away just yet, and the boss has made that clear after seeing the surprise result at Old Trafford from midweek.

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High flyers Manchester United surprisingly lost 2-1 to bottom of the league Sheffield United on Wednesday night, who put in an impressive performance.

Talking the morning after that fixture, Johnson wants his side to perform better than they did in the goalless against Sutton United to be assured of a win at Barnet on Saturday.

Barnet ended up losing 3-1 at Dover Athletic also in midweek to replace their opponents at the bottom of the National League.

Going into tomorrow’s game, Torquay are expected to be strong favourites for the win, however football doesn’t always go like that as we discovered at Old Trafford.

“That’s what Manchester United were thinking when they played Sheffield United last night,” said Johnson.

“You can’t take anything for granted. “You are only top of the league because consistently you have played a better game than the opposition. If you drop below the standard, as you saw at Premier League level, but especially at National League level where everything is a little bit more much of a muchness, you have got to go and perform better than the opposition.

“That’s what we have got to do. They’ll be desperate to put in a performance – I supposed you could say it is a free-hit for them. We have got to be aware of that and make sure we deal with it.”

Torquay haven’t been able to score in their last two matches, and will be hoping not to suffer the same blip as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

Despite some rather blah scorelines of late, they did recently show what they’ve been all about this season, with Torquay putting four past Boreham Wood when they played out their FA Trophy Fourth Round meeting on Tuesday the 19th of January.

What’s also impressive is that the four goals came from four different players, and no team in the National League comes close to the 38 they have scored in 19 games so far, as mentioned by DevonLive.

There will be some reason as to why the Gulls are lacking some goals from recent games, with Danny Wright missing after the 36-year-old striker was forced to have an operation on a troublesome hamstring after Christmas.

34 year old Asa Hall, who has scored four goals is also out with a calf problem.

The team have long term injuries in Andrew Nelson, Liam Davis, Lucas Covolan, Gary Warren, Ben Wynter, Fraser Kerr and Matt Buse.

Johnson said: “I am hoping to win the game, that’s for sure.”

He does have some concerns however over whether the season can continue or not with a vote upcoming to see if clubs want to play on or suspend.

Clubs will vote on the future of the campaign on Monday with National League North and South sides having not played for two weeks after concerns about ongoing funding.

“I don’t think there’s a great demand from the National League teams in our league that want to cancel the league,” Johnson told BBC Radio Devon.

Many clubs are reportedly against borrowing money to see out the season.

“There’s got to be promotion and relegation into the EFL and out of it,” added Johnson.

“Everybody’s working very hard to stay Covid safe and I think the powers that be want to try as much as they can to keep the football going.

“But the North and South are in a little bit more of a dangerous position as they don’t get as much of a grant and some of those teams pay just as much in wages part-time as the full time lads who are training every day.”

The National League campaign is due to end on the 29th of May, and Johnson doesn’t expect it to be extended beyond that date to accommodate any possible relaxation in the rules regarding crowds returning to matches should Covid cases drop.

The season didn’t even start for teams at this level until the beginning of October, two months later than normal, but will finish just a month later than usual.

“The lads are going to need a break, you can’t go from one season to the next after playing the amount of games that we’ve played in the space of a short time,” Johnson added.

“We’ll just have to deal with it as and when it comes, try and live for today and do our best and hopefully if you’re at the top of the league for most of the season then at least you’re in a good position for whatever decision might be made.”

Torquay boss Gary Johnson says “Let’s not do what Manchester United did”, but do you think there is any risk of that potentially happening against Barnet this weekend? Let us know your thoughts or score predictions!

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