JOHN McGreal insists his Colchester United players have never stopped believing in themselves after they returned to winning ways in League Two.

The U’s beat Cambridge United 1-0 to end a three-match losing run and reignite their play-off hopes.

Colchester lie just a point off the top seven with six games of the season remaining and boss McGreal says they have always stuck to their principles, despite a recent dip in form.

McGreal said: “We don’t try and get away from what we’ve done all season, because there’s not much wrong.

“We’ve been in it all season and we want to be in and around it again until the end.

“The only way to do that is after a couple of defeats, to dust yourselves down, analyse it and move on but we don’t get away from what we’re doing, that’s the thing.

“We had a couple of sore defeats but we just wanted to get back to winning ways, to see where it takes us.

“We’ve worked ever so hard, as everyone else has but we’ve got our rewards (against Cambridge).”

McGreal handed a Colchester debut to new signing Sam Saunders at Cambridge after the midfielder joined them on a free transfer, last week.

The 35-year-old has won promotion with Brentford, Wycombe Wanderers and Brentford during the course of his career and the U’s head coach believes Saunders’ experience is already having a positive impact, within the squad.

McGreal said: “We are a little bit short of numbers with the injuries that we have at the minute, so Sam Saunders coming in has given us that little bit of workload to share.

“He also brings experience and he’s been there and done it before, with Wycombe last season.

“He knows how to get over the line or to get in the position to start off with and he’s been a great help to the boys.”

Meanwhile, boss McGreal feels the fantastic backing of Colchester’s supporters at Cambridge last weekend illustrates the strength of relationship between the club and their fans.

Nearly 1,200 made the short trip to the Abbey Stadium to see their side get back to winning ways, courtesy of Kane Vincent-Young’s dramatic stoppage-time strike.

McGreal added: “It shows how the fans are with us.

"We had nearly 1,200 fans coming across the border and they’ve come to see the players that they pay to watch,

“We’ve got a fantastic relationship with the fans and that proves it, with 1,200 turning up and there’s no better finish than a last-minute winner.”