Hessenthaler Praises Players After ‘Difficult’ Week

O’s interim boss takes plenty of positives from Daggers victory, as Declan McCarthy reports…

Leyton Orient interim manager Andy Hessenthaler was pleased with his players following a thrilling 3-2 victory over Dagenham & Redbridge.

Following the news this week that former player-manager Kevin Nolan had been relieved of his managerial duties, Hessenthaler was happy with how his players responded following a victory against Dagenham & Redbridge.

Speaking after the game, he described it as the, “toughest week in my footballing life” coming into the Daggers game.

Two first half goals from Jay Simpson lifted Orient into a comfortable lead into half time before Dagenham made it level through goals from Jamie Cureton and Clevid Dikamona before Armand Gnanduillet killed off any hope for Dagenham as the defeat saw the visitors relegated to the National League.

Positive approach

“I’ve been in the game a long time, it’s been tough but the players responded well and got a good result. We made it a little bit nervy because we gave two sloppy goals away,” Hessenthaler said. “But it’s what we need to do. We need to win games and get into the playoffs.”

Jay Simpson ended a run of seven games without a goal in League Two. The former Arsenal striker scored twice in the first half to take his tally for the season to 25, and Hessenthaler was pleased to see the O’s top scorer regain his scoring touch.

“I am pleased for Jay. He was getting a bit frustrated after trying too hard at times but today was a good game for him.”

The 50-year-old expressed that he was happy with the way his players approached the victory over Dagenham in a professional way after such a tough week.

“On a personal level, you’ve got to be professional. If I wasn’t going to be professional today then I wasn’t being true to myself, I’ve said that to the players and I think they did that,” he added.

“We got the result and it wasn’t through a lack of effort. The goals we conceded were poor but you have got to be true and look at yourself in the mirror and we owe it to the fans, no one is bigger than the club.

“The fans are the biggest part of the football club and they’ve had some tough times over the years, but I am pleased we got the result for the fans.”

‘All hands on deck’

With rumours speculating around Leyton Orient, Hessenthaler confirmed that chairman Francesco Becchetti played a part in picking the starting XI that played against Dagenham.

“The staff got together, myself, Andy Edwards, Danny Webb, Richard Thomas and I have to be honest the owner. We sat round the table and that is the team we came up with.”

Hessenthaler, who has found himself as an interim manager at Orient twice this season, spoke highly of Nolan and admitted that despite everything going on he had to remain as professional as he could.

“I feel for Kevin, he’s come in and he’s kept me alongside him. He’s a good friend of mine like Ian (Hendon) is as well. For me to lose two managers this season has been very tough,” he admitted.

“I found it very hard this week. I’ve got to be professional and do the job. If I wasn’t professional, I wouldn’t be true to myself.”

Leyton Orient are only two points off the playoffs. You can see the O’s back in action at the Matchroom stadium this this evening as they take on fellow promotion rivals Plymouth.