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A good basis to work on

12 August 2012

Peter Shirtliff on the Middlesbrough game, the red card and looking forward to a new season

‘That was a game we were always in, though it’s disappointing to lose it in the end.  When you assess the opposition and the quality that they have got, then you have call our performance creditable.

For me the first goal was a bit controversial.  We had three players on the floor, plus you have to wonder whether it was a free kick or not.  We switched off a little bit.  They took the quick free kick and then within seconds, the ball is in the back of our net.  We need to learn from that.

There were plenty of positives to take from the game though with some great performances to take from the game.

I can see why the referee has sent Efe Sodje off, but we will just have to live with that.  We’ll miss Efe for three games now.  It was disappointing considering he had just been warned by the referee, but more disappointed that it came in the last minute.  It’s a bit silly really.  I’m not sure whether he meant it or not, only Efe knows that, but to be fair, I can’t see him doing that, but I can see why the ref sent him off.

The performance has given us a good basis to work on for the Brentford game next weekend now.  We’ve got a free week to prepare for Brentford, it’s a game we are all looking forward to.  The players are disappointed to have lost this game, but they have responded well in training this week.  Like I have said to them in the dressing room after the game, they have performed admirably against a very good championship team.

The lads must not get their heads down after a performance like that, we’ve got a hell of a long season coming up – starting with Brentford on Saturday.

Middlesbrough held the ball well, they passed the ball well and you expect that when you play against quality opposition like that.  If we had approached this game with a gung ho method, we would have picked off far too easily, they would have had more chances than they actually had.  We played well and when we got possession of the ball, we caused them problems.

Mark Hughes first goal for the club did lift the levels a little, 2-0 down can be a little daunting when you are playing a very good team like that, but getting back into the game like that certainly made it more interesting for the last 25 minutes or so.

Trevor Carson had a very good game, he can’t be blamed for the second goal.  The rebound did come off him.  It was a well struck shot plus he saved a few other well struck shots.  We were slow on closing down.  You can credit their player for following it in, and maybe be a little critical for our players for not following it in.

There were plenty of good performances out there, including Andrai Jones.  Phil Picken is still a good player and he is unfortunate to be out of the team.  So is Adam Lockwood, he is a good senior player as well.  This is a squad situation; it’s not the same eleven every week.  It’s a long season and everyone will get their chance.

It was a difficult opening game on a very hot day.  The pre-season has been fantastic, the lads look fit and well and I thought they needed that competitive game on Saturday.  I expect them to be tired after a game like that.'


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