SPECIAL FEATURE: CIDER WITH JOSE

Yeovil Town prepare to welcome the 'Special One'...

YEOVIL Town manager Darren Way says he will be offering Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho a pint of Thatcher’s Cider along with the customary bottle of good red wine after Friday evening’s Emirates FA Cup Fourth round tie at Huish Park.

“It’s only right we offer him what we drink down here too,” joked Way at the pre-match press conference, he also confirmed that he was still actively trying to bring in one or two new players before the match: “I’m hopeful, but it’s difficult as so many possibles have already featured in the competition this years and are therefore cup-tied.”

The Glovers will be without playmaker Otis Khan’s whose appeal against his sending off in the 2-1 defeat against Chesterfield was dismissed and his suspension increased to five matches.

After the heroics of the third round win over Bradford City, Way explained just what a huge occasion it was for all involved at the club to take one of the game’s giants under the live BBC cameras and eyes of the world: “It’s a massive achievement for everyone at the club. I’m really proud. All the players are looking forward to it.

“I’ve shared my experiences of playing in some big cup ties with the players. If they switch off during the match the Premier League teams will kill you, concentration levels have to be so high. If every player puts in their peak performance I think we’ve got half a chance. Every minute that goes by and we’re still in it helps us gather momentum.

“Preparation is key leading up the game. We’re all watched a re-run of the match with United three years ago to get a feel for what the build-up, the atmosphere in the tunnel and the environment will feel like. We’re taking the whole squad to watch the Bristol City versus Manchester City League Cup semi final tonight. As regards the planning and attention to detail, I’m not leaving any stone unturned. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime and I want the players to dream big and defy the odds. I won’t enjoy it unless we win or draw the game.”

I want the supporters to believe that too, I think they will be massive part of the day – this is their chance to show the world what Yeovil is all about, because we’re not called ‘giant killers’ for nothing.

“I’m just little bit disappointed that one or two are setting a conspiracy against us. That’s unfortunate, my message to them would be just live the moment because you may never get this opportunity again – get behind the team and feel proud for your club.

“This could be one of the biggest nights in the club’s history against one of the biggest teams in the world – to win, or take them back to Old Trafford, would be a fantastic achievement.

“As a manager I’m under pressure every year to balance the books, it’s part of my remit. It’s been very difficult this year – It’s been difficult since I took over two and half years ago – but I think I’ve done my job up to now, finishing higher each year even though resources, including attendances, have dropped, we’re still in the last eight of the Checkatrade Trophy.

“So we need to remain focused, I’ve got an unshakeable belief that what we are doing has the club going in the right direction.”

When asked if the falling attendances indicated he had ‘lost’ the supporters Way said: “It’s the same at any club, anyone can voice their opinions. But with the system that we’ve been working with the rules and regulations of the loan system have gone against a club like Yeovil.

“If we sign a player on a season long loan they could be moved on in the transfer window so there is no stability whatsoever. It’s been a problem over a number of years but the club has always survived ever since the chairman took the decision to go full time all those years ago. Managers are always subject to criticism, it’s a matter of how resilient you are in getting through that. I’ve got a supportive board and supportive family and if you can stand the test of time you end up with magical moments like Friday night.”

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.