Duff’s verdict ‘We can compete with them... we could have won it’
Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff chats to Jon Palmer after his side’s draw with Swindon
» Four points from two home games in a week, how do you regard that return? I think Swindon are one of the best teams in the league so to go 1-0 and 2-1 down and show the character that we have to come back, I thought we shaded the second half.
A draw was probably the fair result and am not sure I’d want too many more of those sorts of games.
It was great for the supporters and a good game to watch, open with two teams trying to play good football, but as a manager you don’t want many of them.
I thought we were going to nick it at the end as well, which would have been a cherry on the top.
But two good performances at home and hopefully the supporters recognise that as well and they were great.
Swindon brought a lot, but they didn’t drown our lads and girls out, so that was brilliant.
» As the game was going on and you were firefighting it in your head, was it the defence that was causing you the anxiety?
We didn’t quite get the press right. In the second half we flattened our midfield three out, let the two centre-halves have it and pressed from there and it looked a lot better.
Swindon want you to come on and they want to play through you and the gap between our backline and our front line got too big.
Their rotations hurt us, so we got the front two to drop in a little bit more and let them come onto us and that made a difference.
» Is that an education for someone like Jacob Greaves, given the movement of Swindon’s forwards?
I don’t think the movement would have been an education, but the intensity and the pace of the game I’d imagine will have been an eye-opener for him.
I’ve just said to him “welcome to the Football League” because that’s four games in 10 days and he’s flat out and looked dead on his feet at the end, as did a few others.
But that’s why he’s out on loan because if he wants to go and play in the Championship, they’ve had the same fixture schedule as us.
» Luke Varney came off at half-time, what was the reason for that?
He felt his hamstring when he scored the goal, as he made the little movement for the goal.
As always, we brought him off. You are not going to get through the game, or make it any better. We’ll have to wait and see how he is.
I thought George Lloyd was excellent second half, running in behind, winning his headers and he always seems to land on a chance, which is a real positive.
Chris Hussey was involved with both goals, scoring one and setting up the other
They were two good goals that we scored, but theirs were good as well. I’d imagine it was a good advert for League Two football.
A lot of people say it’s crash, bang, wallop, but I don’t think it was that today.
» What kind of a message does George Lloyd going on at half-time send to Tahvon Campbell?
He got on the pitch as well. There is competition for places.
Tahv started the season, Lloydy was injured. Lloydy has got on ahead of him in the first couple of games.
Depending on where we go, they are different types. Lloydy is a runner, while Tahv is more holding it up and he’s not a target man, but he can run in behind.
Lloyd is always off the shoulder, so they give you different things, that’s what we wanted.
Because we were playing a deeper block, we wanted to hit them more on the counter so we had two quick ones at the top.
» A 2-2 draw, but is that your best performance so far?
It’s difficult to say. It was a good performance. We’ve had three home games and been excellent in all three in my opinion. That’s all we can do.
We were good last time away from home at Morecambe, showing the resilience we showed today, with maybe not as much quality.
But it’s a work in progress. We don’t think we are the real deal, but there are definitely improvements from last year.
» You said you’d know more about your team after the game. Does this show you can compete with the better teams?
That’s the word, we can compete with them. That game, we could have gone on to win it.
Obviously we could have lost it as well, but we matched them physically and I thought our football was as good as theirs as well.
That was the pleasing thing and the challenge for them. I said to them after the game, they have taken a team who will get promoted this season in my opinion, all the way.
» Chris Hussey had a big say, did he last longer than you thought he would?
I gave it to him, like Reg (Varney) on Tuesday night. You have to trust your experienced players to trust their bodies.
Reg said to me on Tuesday night “I am done” and that’s what I want them to do, don’t leave anything on the pitch, don’t conserve anything and if you can’t run I’ll take you off and put someone on who can.
That’s exactly what happened to Josh (Debayo) on Tuesday night and Huss did the same.
He showed you what he’s all about, his qualities. Sometimes when it gets to 100mph he has that extra touch, or roll of the ball that just settles everything down.
Hussey seemed to enjoy getting some stick from the away fans as wellhe’s that sort of character. You challenge him and he embraces it.
He is a competitive animal which most footballers are to be honest.
You go to any ground and get a bit of stick, it just fires you up even more.
Chris Hussey tangles with Lloyd Isgrove. Left, Ryan Broom tries to get away from Jordan Lyden Pictures: Antony Thompson - Thousand Word Media
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