David Flitcroft gives his reaction to his first game in charge at the JD Stadium‘I didn’t want a flying start, I want to find out about my team, I want to find out what the fans want and I want to find out what this project is about and I think I have probably done that today. It’s a point and it’s something to build off. I will evaluate that second half over the next 48 hours and I will come up with some solutions.
At times in the first half I was happy with some of the performance and happy with some of our play, but that second half did not resemble anything that I want to see on a football pitch.
The football I’ve watched this season in League Two has been at Rochdale under Keith Hill – and that’s football. On Saturday we came up against probably the most direct team and a very territorial team. We had to dig in and at times, the players have done that.
We have to concentrate on what we are doing and really focus on all aspects of what we want to do, but I’ve told the players after the game that we have some hard miles to get where I want to go, to try and match my professionalism, my enthusiasm and my dedication. We will probably lose some on the journey.
The first half I was delighted with some of the football we played, the passing phases, the movement, the precision – they couldn’t handle us in the first half. The second half resembled something like the last six or seven games. It’s a grind, a fight and a smash up and I don’t believe league two football is about that. We’ve got a lot of work to do.
I know a lot more about my team; I know a lot more about my players. It didn’t go under; a lot of teams do go under against these physical direct teams.
The problems are that we don’t keep the ball well enough; we don’t look to keep the ball. It’s not a part of the everyday training programme, it’s not a part of everything they do, and it’s not part of an ideology or ethos. It’s completely opposite to what I am as a coach and a manager.
I will work with these players and they know that, I will give them everything I’ve got. We will get that better training ground to work on but at the moment we are quite some way off where we need to be and I am sure that over the time we will get there.
I’ve got a lot of teaching to do, but the group want to come along. I’ve looked in their eyes and every single one of them wants to come along the journey. That’s important to me. Some won’t, some won’t have the character to do that but during that game, some have shown the character and have dug in. They showed real character and fight and I was happy with that.
I knew Craig Jones would be my captain after the first day. I love his hunger; I love his desire, his quality. We had to get Tom Soares off at half time because he’s done his hamstring and because of that we couldn’t get him in the pocket where I wanted him, where he was really affective in the first half. That took him away from our armoury.
What a player he is, what a person he is. The kid is hungry and I am chuffed to be working with him. I believe he signed a new deal a few weeks ago and that’s great business for this club. He is the sort of player that we want to be working with and the type of player that the club needs to recruit. He wants to learn, he’s had his time at non-league. He now wants to learn and be a part of it and I will teach Craig Jones to be a top player.’
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