Micky Mellon is refusing to be rattled after Tranmere’s conflicting start to the season.
“It’s really frustrating, but it’s about controlling that frustration and trying to help the lads as much as possible,” says the Rovers boss.
Listening to Mellon speak at Tranmere’s training base, it’s impossible not to believe in the softly-spoken Scot’s assertion that his side will turn things around. He shakes off questions that look past Saturday’s game against Ebbsfleet, and considers each of his answers thoughtfully. This is a man who has an unshakeable belief in his side.
At the same time, he refuses to make excuses for his players. Tranmere have struggled for consistency after losing the play-off final to Forest Green back in May, and his honesty is startlingly appealing in today’s environment of eye-wateringly bland football-jargon and players, managers and pundits who are media trained until cliches start pouring from their ears. When asked if his strikers have been given enough clear cut chances, Mellon is firm but fair.
“I do, yeah. I think there’s been clear cut chances. I don’t want to be critical of anyone because football is a difficult game. When you’re playing football at this level and upwards any chance that comes your way is a chance. I don’t know how to accurately say what a chance is but we need to take them when they come around. We have the firepower,” he said.
But Mellon won’t put the blame entirely on his forwards.
“We have goalscorers on the pitch and goalscorers from set-plays, with great set-piece takers. There’s a whole host of goalscorers. We all need to take responsibility.”
Mellon reckons there’s no-one in the National League who are playing football at Tranmere’s level, but admits teams are finding ways to win in much uglier ways.
“That’s no criticism because there’s different ways to win games of football. But we have to add to that by scoring goals. Football is about making and taking chances. It’s as simple as that.”
The former Shrewsbury supremo spoke at length about consistency in Thursday’s press conference, and it is a word that is being uttered almost exclusively in conjunction with Tranmere’s form. But Mellon is convinced good times are around the corner. What’s his plan to get the ball rolling on their season?
“By keeping things consistent, really. Keep working hard at everything we have to do in our game and I’m absolutely sure [performances] will turn up at some stage. We believe in the process of putting performances together. It’s just about taking that into games now and doing it consistently over ninety minutes and taking chances when they come along.”
Mellon added: “Certainly in terms of results it’s one win and one loss at the minute and we need to try and get the consistency to gain results. It’s very frustrating.”
Consistency and frustration. Those two words again for Mellon. He apologises for sounding like a broken record as he once more ruminates on the on his side’s finishing- or lack of it- but throughout the interview he maintains a firm belief in their quality.
“I think if you came and watched us play you would come away saying…