On the game
We couldn’t get any worse after the first half, could we? It was much better in the second half; it was more like what we’re capable of playing like. There was a bit more energy about us and these were the things that were discussed at half-time. First-half, we didn’t pass the ball very well and looked a bit nervy in possession. They pressed us quite high and really well and because we couldn’t play through their press, it made it look even better. Having said that, although I thought they handled the ball better than us in the first-half, other than the one opportunity they had where Loach made a great save, I don’t remember them asking too many questions of us in the final third but there’s no denying they were better than us in the first-half in my opinion.
Then in the second half, we played with a bit more energy, I thought Mauro (Vilhete) drove us forward, he seemed to be everywhere in the second half. Obviously Medy (Elito) coming on, Xander (McBurnie), in all fairness making his debut, he will learn loads from making his debut, he was up against a good side. It was a good early test for him and there will be more to come from him. Certainly, Medy played his part as well. We just looked a bit more like ourselves in the second half.
On the improved second-half performance
To say that we were 11 unbeaten with no confidence is a strange one to put your finger. There’s a number of quotes you could say about them, we paid them too much respect because they’re a good side and top of the league albeit we’re playing in a trophy game. Whatever it was, we weren’t at the races in the first half there’s no getting away from that. The confidence came back in the second half.
We had a word at half-time and corrected one or two things but a lot of what we did in the second half just come from a bit more urgency about what we were trying to do. Getting the goals so close together were a real boost, gave us a lift and then it allows you to have that confidence playout in your performance. We made it look quite comfortable in the end when at half time it wasn’t comfortable.
On his strikers being in red hot form
Between the three of them, they’ve got to fight for two shirts. It’s nice to see them both contribute in the way they did today. I’m always going to want more, for them to work harder. I will never stop asking that because I believe the harder you work, the more rewards you can get and although they’ve both scored today, obviously McCallum wasn’t available today but scored on his debut last week, it’s nice to have that type of selection headache going forward.
On the defence
They’re a really good side and I have a lot of respect for how they play. Obviously they’ve come here and left one or two at home today. It was mentioned at the end of the game that they’ll be back in a couple of weeks with a stronger team. We know they’ve left some key players at home, having said that they still have some good players that I really like as a manager.
To restrict them to what we did is pleasing and Loach made a brilliant save in the first half, the one that hit the bar he actually got his fingers to as well. It’s good for Loach, he’s a fantastic character, brilliant goalkeeper and I’m so pleased that we’ve got him here with us. Our back three, Elliot again today, is Mr. consistent isn’t he? Sweeney and Callum in there were nice and solid as well and then it was nice to get Ricardo back on the pitch. There is a headache for me at both ends of the pitch.
On the buzz around The Hive
It’s important, isn’t it. Your confidence should be in a good place. As a group of players, we are 12 unbeaten, we’re in a healthy position, we have one or two games in hand that we need to make count. I’ve got more good players coming out of the treatment room over the next few weeks, so it sets it up nicely. We won’t get carried away, there no chance of that. It’s one game at a time and we have another game to look forward to on Tuesday night.