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

Gloucestershire Echo - - SPORTING INDEX -

» 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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