Kevin Blackwell reflects on performances, a good week and looks forward to Walsall
“It’s been a positive week for us, I thought we did ever so well at Yeovil last weekend and I was very pleased having gone down to ten men. If anyone had arrived after 28 minutes, it would be very difficult to see that we only had ten men. The game was very equal and for long spells in the second half, we dominated. Gary Johnson admitted afterwards that he was very happy to get the result. For me, it was a positive performance. Its performances before results, but having said that, the performance on Tuesday wasn’t our best performance out of the last three or four games, but we got the result.
It’s harder to play against ten men because they get an injection of determination, plus our system and the way that we worked it made it very difficult for Yeovil. We knew what we were doing when we went down to ten men, we practice it and if you practice it, it can make it very difficult and you can work out how to deal with eleven. We did that very well and we made sure that their spare man was the centre half, because we knew that he couldn’t really affect us coming forward. The rest of the shape stayed the same.
It was a frustrated bus coming home, it’s been a frustrating time for all of the club. I couldn’t fault them; I couldn’t have a go at them after the game in any shape or form. I thought they were a credit. It was a good performance and unjust in terms of the result. We have to keep learning from those games and next time we will be ready for it.
All the player will take stock on a long trip like that, they sit and say to themselves – what if!!. We had three or four great chances to not just equalise, but to go ahead. Maybe the players that missed those chances will reflect on that. Defenders will think that maybe they could have done better with their goal. You always do when you are so close to getting a result. It was a reflective mood coming home on the bus, but we were quietly confident that we would get the result on Tuesday.
I said to the lads after the game on Tuesday that it’s nice to win a game. The point of winning is learning how to win, and I just think we’ve forgotten how to win here, and the feat that comes from that. That’s why I have been on about the performances. Performances are about learning, about making sure we stay in games and are able to win games, from that point we can go on and we needed to put that base in. We are going to be a very difficult team to beat, that’s for sure. That’s one of the first things you have to become – a very difficult team to beat. If you are always in games, then you have a great chance to get something out of them. To be fair to the players, in the five or six games that we’ve had since I got here, we could have got something out of every game. Prior to coming here, maybe that wasn’t the case.
It’s one step at a time, one of the first things I said when I came in was that we needed to get off the bottom as quickly as we can, then try and look at the next step after that, and that’s to try and get some consecutive results together, the next step after that is to try and get out of the bottom four, then we try and consolidate. We know the goals, we know which way we have to go and they are steps that we can take without tripping ourselves up too much. I’m not going to say that we will be sitting in the top half of the table come the end of the season because that’s rubbish. It’s one step at a time, obtainable goals and that’s what we are doing.
I came to speak to the press on Tuesday after the game, looking and feeling disappointed. When you look at the stats from the game you can see why. 19 shots on target, 12 off target – its frustration. We’ve worked on things that are clearly working; we are just not finishing that little bit off. The players can certainly help themselves, all their approach play has to be finished off. Then there’s a point to it. It’s no good having all this play and possession and shots on target but not finishing it off. If you don’t finish it off, then you might as well not have any shots.
There’s an old adage, for every ten shots – you are owed a goal, looking at the stats lately; we are actually owed four or five goals. We have to keep hitting the target and they have to start going in. Look at David Worrall on Tuesday night, he came inside, struck the ball really hard with his left foot and it’s gone in of the inside of the post. There are loads of things to look back on but I just think that as a club we have forgotten how to win and the things that we need to do.
We know Saturday’s game will be difficult. Walsall have had mixed results recently but we know they try to play the right way. On their day they can be a handful so we have to be guarded and I am looking for that back to back response from the players. It’s all about us rather than Walsall so as long as stay focussed, and on the responsibilities that I have given them, they focus on those responsibilities to the level I know they can do, then we will be ok.’
Watch the full video interview on Shakers Player