‘We need to be braver on the ball away from home’

Jon Palmer spoke to Chel­tenham Town boss Michael Duff af­ter the last-gasp 1-0 de­feat at Craw­ley Town

Gloucestershire Echo - - CHELTENHAM TOWN FC -

» Were you angry?

Yes. We weren’t good enough, par­tic­u­larly in the first half. We got bet­ter se­cond half, but to get done on a scrappy goal, with so many de­tails we got wrong. We lost the ball cheaply again, no­body stood on the ball, let the ball come in the box and knock down - a poor, poor goal to give away.

» Should it have been a 0-0 game, closed out from a match with few chances?

Yes. It was sim­i­lar to the More­cambe game (0-0 draw), although Craw­ley were slightly bet­ter than us. They were bet­ter than us first half, but in the se­cond half I thought we moved the ball slightly bet­ter. We have not cre­ated enough away from home again, which is dis­ap­point­ing.

» Is that be­cause of what the for­wards are do­ing, or the sup­ply to the for­wards?

It’s noth­ing to do with the cen­tre for­wards, it’s the sup­ply. We have played four games away from home with five or six dif­fer­ent cen­tre for­wards. It’s tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity and be­ing brave. We seem to be brave at home, but don’t want to quite make that an­gle or take the ball in a tight area. If you are not pre­pared to do that, you need to do the de­tail of the game bet­ter and we didn’t. It’s a sim­ple case of stand­ing on the ball and not let­ting them take it quickly, as they did to us. They did it once in the se­cond half, we didn’t and they have won the game. That’s what the game came down to.

» Why did you have to pull Ro­han Ince out?

Ro­han felt his ham­string in the warm-up, so that was the dis­ap­point­ing thing. We had a bit of a night­mare jour­ney here, that happened in the warm-up and we were re­ally poor in the first half. You are thinking all that’s gone and you’d have been quite happy with a point, over­all. It leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

» In the first half af­ter 20 min­utes you did seem to get more solid and you seemed to have weath­ered the start they had

The gap be­tween the back five and the front two was too big. We needed to get the two cen­tre for­wards to drop off a bit, com­pact the pitch and then press from there. That’s all it was. They weren’t open­ing us up. They had a bit of the ball and a few cor­ners, but I don’t re­mem­ber Scott (Flin­ders) mak­ing any save of note, or their goalie.

» When the George Lloyd chance came and went did you think you might be able to force an opener?

We started the se­cond half well and grew into the game. We tweaked a few things and said a few things at half-time and we looked bet­ter. But we still didn’t cre­ate enough and it’s dif­fi­cult to win a game of foot­ball. Some­times it comes down to re­ally, re­ally fine mar­gins and their goal was that mo­ment.

» There wasn’t a huge amount of pres­sure from Craw­ley, but does the lack of goals put that ex­tra fo­cus on the de­fence and one mis­take might de­cide it?

It’s a team re­spon­si­bil­ity. De­fend as a team and attack as a team. We have not scored, which is a team thing and we’ve con­ceded a re­ally poor goal be­cause it can be stopped at source. That al­lows the mid­field­ers to front screen Ol­lie Palmer, which they did well se­cond half. We didn’t stop the ball, we didn’t front screen, we didn’t win the first header, one mis­take, two mis­take, three mis­take goal, usu­ally.

» How far away is Max Sheaf?

He is a cou­ple of weeks away, as most of them are.

» Was there con­cern over Ro­han Ince’s in­jury be­fore the warm-up?

I wasn’t aware of any­thing. He wanted to play, but he would have been re­stricted and you can’t carry play­ers in this league. Not that we would have been car­ry­ing him, but he’d have been at 80 per cent and chances are, you’d also end up hav­ing to take him off. I took the de­ci­sion out of his hands. I’ve been there, done it a warm-up my­self and you don’t want to say any­thing. At least he’s had the courage to say it be­cause he was des­per­ate to play af­ter so many false dawns in the last 12 months. It’s dis­ap­point­ing and if you look at the goal, you’d like to think if Ro­han is stand­ing in front of him Ol­lie Palmer doesn’t win that header. It’s all ifs, buts and maybes. The main thing is that we didn’t lose him for an­other six to eight weeks.

» You have had a night­mare run with in­juries haven’t you, de­spite the no-risk pol­icy?

It’s not a no-risk pol­icy, if you are in­jured, you are in­jured. There’s no point run­ning through it as you’ll only make it worse. We have been un­lucky and it’s some­thing we are try­ing to in­ves­ti­gate to work out if there is any­thing we can do from a staff point of view, gym work or train­ing. There will be no stone un­cov­ered as to if there is any­thing, but some­times you just get un­lucky.

» That bravery you say is lack­ing away from home, is there any­thing you can do about that as man­ager?

Well, it’s my job to try. We have scored eight goals in three games at home and not scored in four away with the same play­ers. It’s be­tween their ears and that’s all it is. We have to try and find a so­lu­tion some­how. I be­lieve they are a good group of foot­ballers and we need to do bet­ter with the ball and also the de­tail of the game. That’s the thing I am re­ally frus­trated with be­cause it should have been an­other 0-0 and we would have thought it was a good point, de­spite not play­ing par­tic­u­larly well.

» Was Char­lie Raglan close to hav­ing to come off af­ter two col­li­sions?

No, he was fine, Rags. He had a bit of blood on his head, but you get used to that as a cen­tre-half. He wasn’t close to hav­ing to come off.

» Good to see Alex Ad­dai back from in­jury

Yes, he felt his groin at Bris­tol Rovers and came off. You get them back in two weeks then rather than six to eight weeks. Once you tear things, you’ll never run off a mus­cle in­jury or get any bet­ter. Ex­pe­ri­ence tells me that. It’s not a no-risk pol­icy, you are ei­ther in­jured or you’re not. You might do that with an an­kle, or a knock on your knee, or some­thing like that, but not mus­cle in­juries.

» Do you think Ro­han Ince has avoided an­other long-term ab­sence then?

Hope­fully, but I don’t know what he’s done. We’ll have to as­sess him and he might be right for Satur­day, it’s too early to say.

Char­lie Raglan ended the game swathed in ban­dages af­ter two clashes of heads

Gavin Reilly looks to get past Craw­ley’s Filipe Mo­rais

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