Colin Calderwood hails influential captain Gary Deegan in Cambridge United win over Stevenage
Gary Deegan earned the praise of head coach Colin Calderwood after leading Cambridge United to a 2-0 win over Stevenage in Sky Bet League Two.
First-half goals from David Amoo and Jevani Brown did the damage as the U’s produced the perfect response to their 6-0 drubbing at MK Dons on New Year’s Day.
And it was despite having two late withdrawals, Liam O’Neil and Reggie Lambe because of injury.
Calderwood pointed to the impact of Brown as part of the front four, and the resolute nature of the defence, but gave special credit to his captain.
“Jevani Brown really worked at a level that I will expect every week, some of his individual talent was excellent,” he said.
“For me, it’s always the front four that make you look good but the back six did their job. And we have to mention the captain, I thought Deegan was influential.
“He was flying about everywhere and he typified the spirit required and influence pre-match, but also that experience.
“Not everyone can be the one who bangs the drums in the dressing room all the time, you probably don’t want that.
“Everyone has their own way to get motivated for a game, but his way is perhaps what I’m more used to in terms of helping or being a noise in the dressing room and maybe relieving a bit of pressure on the quieter ones.
“In saying that, the ones that are maybe quiet were excellent in the game because they showed their technical and physical abilities.”
With other results going United’s way as well, it has helped them pull five points clear of the relegation places, ahead of this Saturday’s trip to bottom side Notts County.
“The result looks a big reaction from New Year’s Day, but I think the quality of the opening 20 minutes set the tone and maybe settled the crowd a little bit, but it certainly settled us down,” said Calderwood.
“We found some nice combinations, especially Brad Halliday and David Amoo on the right-hand side and that gave us a threat. That threat helped the atmosphere within the stadium.
“I don’t know if it really builds so much confidence, but what it did do, is it gave us authority in the game.
“We’ve scored two, and probably deserved to get the goal right before half-time.
“We’ve managed the second half, and there were moments where we may have gone on and increased the score.
“I thought it was a good performance.
“Whatever happened in the previous game, that was a good level of performance, for a team that’s getting beat quite a bit.
“I think you’ve got to give them a lot of credit for that level, and obviously the result.”