Player-coach praises character of players following productive weekend.Graham Stack was pleased with the way that Barnet bounced back to winning ways on Saturday, as the Bees overcame AFC Telford United 3-1 at The Hive to go eight points clear at the top of the Vanarama Conference.
Speaking after the game, the player-coach praised the players’ resolve to bounce back from defeats in the league and cup against Torquay and Wycombe within the space of four days:
“It has been a tough week for the group off the back of two defeats at home in front of our own fans. It takes character, belief and determination, as well as quality, and I think we showed that today. The way we started the game was a great effort all round – which included everyone. It was a real spirited effort.
“You haven’t got time in this league to reflect and bemoan decisions or games and results, you have got to get on with the job and we did that today. I thought we equipped ourselves very well.
“At times it was hard and we had to dig in and be resilient, because as soon as they got the goal, it gave them a bit of belief. Up until that stage we were relatively untroubled.”
“You are always in a game when you are a goal behind – there is no two ways about it. Even if you are two down, the next goal is crucial. As soon as they got that goal back it gave them something to hang on to; it gave them belief and they grew in that, gained a bit of momentum and put us under a bit more pressure.
“We tightened up a little bit more after we conceded the goal. But for us to see it through the half time and then re-group and come back out and play the way we did in the second half was a credit.”
Stack was also quick to pay tribute to John Akinde, whose second hat-trick of the season helped to secure another vital three points whilst taking him to the top of the Conference scoring charts:
“What can I say? He has been absolutely outstanding for us. People will look at his goal scoring record but he is far, far more than that. The way he defends from the front, the way he holds the ball up and brings other players in, his all-round play and the effort that he puts into games is just incredible.
“It is great when your centre forwards are scoring goals; it gives everybody a lot of belief and confidence. Everyone is delighted for him because he is a great lad as well.”
Finally, on a weekend when many of the results for other promotion contenders went Barnet’s way, Stack insisted that the only thing that mattered was that the players continue in the same vein throughout the rest of the season:
“You have got to be careful looking at other results – you can’t worry about that too much. Don’t get me wrong it is brilliant when you come in and you realise the big boys have lost – that is a given and anyone who tells you any different is lying.
“The focus is on us and if we keep winning, we are going to win the league. If for whatever reason we don’t keep winning, then other teams are going to start catching up – it’s not rocket science. It is all about us; our focus is on us and we believe we can go anywhere against anyone in this league, home or away, and win.”