Stuart Kettlewell: Togetherness is the most important factor in football

The Motherwell boss says team spirit has been key this season.

Stuart Kettlewell: Togetherness is the most important factor in football SNS Group

Stuart Kettlewell’s first full season in charge of Motherwell reinforced his belief that togetherness was the most important factor in football.

Well finish their campaign at home to St Johnstone on Sunday with the chance of finishing above Hibernian in eighth place in the cinch Premiership.

The season has had highs and lows, from a flying start to a 15-game run without a victory, to a rare win at Ibrox and going on a late push for a top-six place.

There have been hugely-successful personal seasons for the likes of Blair Spittal and major improvements in players such as Theo Bair and Georgie Gent.

Motherwell are likely to finish third top-scorers in the Premiership and a positive second half of the season was only possible because the players, staff and club stuck together in the latter months of 2023.

“The biggest lesson I have learned is that when it’s tough and when you are going through those bad runs, you have to believe in what are doing and you have to find a way of making sure there is a good connection at the football club and that everyone sticks together,” Kettlewell said.

“If there is ill feeling, a lack of transparency, lack of messaging from the manager and the staff, then that all falls down pretty quickly and potentially you are not sitting here in this position.

“But what it has absolutely shown, there is a real togetherness and a real belief in what we are doing.

“There have been a lot of highs and some stand-out results and there have been lows but it’s not been over-emotional when those tough times come.

“And I’m not sounding defeatist in saying this – when ultimately at a club like Motherwell with financial challenges and clubs are coming to look at your players – there are massive challenges but it’s really important that you stick together.

“By doing that we have had some stand-out moments, we are absolutely in the league with a bit to spare and we have had some real good player development.

“We want to couple that with success on the pitch, whether we can squeeze our way into the top six or that cup run.”

There was no clamour for Kettlewell to lose his job during the long run without a win, in a sign that supporters also largely believed in his methods.

“I don’t take that side of it for granted but everybody needs to be on board – players, staff, board, new chief executive now in Brian (Caldwell),” he said.

“Everybody has to buy into what you are doing. If you are riding by the seat of your pants, ripping up your team every week and changing your tactics, and you’re not working in a specific way, then I understand why people ask questions because there’s no evidence that it will be successful.

“It would be hard to emerge from January to this point with the wins that we have had.

“That only comes because you don’t have people chatting away and having their own agenda in the dressing room or behind closed doors in offices.

“Barriers are knocked down and if something is not right we say it, but we always have to find a way to move forward.”

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