I don’t think any­one saw this com­ing - happy Duff

Jon Palmer spoke to Chel­tenham Town man­ager Michael Duff af­ter the 2-0 win at Ply­mouth on Satur­day

Gloucestershire Echo - - FOOTBALL -

» How sat­is­fy­ing was that re­sult?

It was weird. I was re­ally dis­ap­pointed first half, be­lieve it or not. We played our game for about a minute, hit the cross­bar and then all re­alised we were away from home again. We stuck at it, they are a good team and they did what they do bet­ter than we did what we do, in the first half. In the sec­ond half we were much bet­ter. You have to de­fend as they’ll have a lot of the ball against most teams. Away from home, big crowd, I don’t think the ref­eree helped us, par­tic­u­larly and I thought a lot of 50/50s didn’t go our way, which you get. To see it out and we were al­ways a threat. It wasn’t smash and grab as we hit the bar twice and scored two good goals, so it was not a smash and grab by a long way. I was re­ally pleased sec­ond half and you have to ride the storm. A lot of their shots were snap shots, flash­ing across the face of goal from around the box. It’s dif­fi­cult when you can just give it to Danny Mayor. He is a dif­fer­ent level and shouldn’t be at this level, but he is. He’s a fan­tas­tic player. I said it last year and I’ve said it again, you’d take him in your team all day long. We stuck to our task, dou­bled and tre­bled up on him at times and he still wrig­gled out of it some­where, but that means there is an over­load some­where else so peo­ple were putting their bod­ies on the line. Scott (Flin­ders) def­i­nitely de­served his clean sheet to­day be­cause he was mag­nif­i­cent, as were a few oth­ers.

Four good saves at least, but when you have a side who are press­ing and don’t have a break­through, and Sean Long picks out a cross like that with Luke Var­ney on the end of it, it’s the ul­ti­mate counter at­tack

It’s the re­silience we are show­ing that I am pleased about. We were a bit flaky at times last. When we were good, we were good, but when we weren’t quite so good, we went un­der. We can’t al­ways be good. We weren’t good first half, but we won the half and that’s a pos­i­tive sign for me. In the sec­ond half we were much bet­ter be­cause they are a good team. I said it to their man­ager (Ryan Lowe) be­fore the game, I think they will click at some point. They will go on a run a bit like Bury did last year, so it’s def­i­nitely a good re­sult for us.

When Flin­ders saved those two at­tempts from Mayor early in the sec­ond half, did you sense the frus­tra­tion start­ing to rise in the Ar­gyle team and think it was good news for you?

No, I was just wor­ry­ing that Danny Mayor was get­ting shots off. There were lots of emo­tions be­fore the game, but you chop it up and dis­sect it and most peo­ple would prob­a­bly have taken a point here, so to win 2-0 and keep an­other clean sheet away from home, that’s two goals con­ceded now in five away games. Yes, they did cre­ate a bit, but they open up teams a lot. I don’t think they opened us up a lot. First half they played through us a lit­tle bit too much. We tweaked a few things with how we want to play be­cause we al­most al­lowed them to pass into the cen­tre for­wards be­cause their dam­ager is done out wide. One ball cut us open a few times first half, so we ad­justed a cou­ple of things. We had to take Jake (Doyle-hayes) off at half-time as he was one foul away from be­ing sent off. If they go on to win the game, peo­ple would ask why we did it, but Clem (Chris Cle­ments) calmed us down and did what we asked of him, pass­ing the ball a bit more.

» Is this run start­ing to feel like a very im­por­tant one, with four back-to-back re­sults?

Win­ning games is good. It’s al­ways im­por­tant. We are not do­ing any­thing. We are still look­ing to see how many points there are be­tween us and the bot­tom one. We want to get to 50 points. The thing we’ve done well is get­ting our heads down and work­ing hard. That’s our third game in a week and we’ve come down on the morn­ing of the game, no moan­ing, just get on with it. Put your foot on the line, run to the next line. If it comes to you, great, if it doesn’t do it again. That has to be the men­tal­ity. I am not be­ing funny, but we have Crewe next week, who are sec­ond. They are an­other good team, a bit like these. What we have shown in this run is that we can com­pete with the bet­ter teams in the league. It doesn’t mean we are any­thing, but we can com­pete.

The fans on so­cial me­dia have said it’s fun to watch at the mo­ment, be­cause of the way you are play­ing

I’d like to think sup­port­ers are en­joy­ing it, not just be­cause of re­sults, but the way we are try­ing to play. It doesn’t guar­an­tee you any­thing, but they are en­joy­ing what the play­ers are giv­ing to them and they ap­pre­ci­ate what the sup­port­ers are giv­ing them. I don’t do the so­cial me­dia thing be­cause it tends to be ei­ther up there, or down there, game to game. The good thing, as I said on my first day, sup­port­ers are see­ing sweat on the shirt. The one thing we can guar­an­tee, not ev­ery week as some­times it looks like you are not try­ing, but we have an hon­est set of play

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ers giv­ing their all for the foot­ball club and for each other.

» As a de­fender, does the clean sheet mean as much to you as the win?

It was more the shape of the team, par­tic­u­larly sec­ond half, as they couldn’t carve us open. They don’t want to toss it in the box, they played around the edge of our box a lot, so we had to drop off as they are a good team and if you open your­self up they do play through you. I don’t think there are many man­agers who will turn around af­ter scor­ing two and keep­ing a clean sheet, but they are slightly dis­ap­pointed, that’s never go­ing to hap­pen.

» Will Boyle back on the bench, how are the other in­jured play­ers?

Sheafy (Max Sheaf) keeps get­ting a lit­tle nig­gle and can’t seem to shift it and we are hop­ing he does. It’s not quite right. Ro­han (Ince) is hop­ing to train the later part of next week. Reuben (Reid) has been on the grass and he’s great. He’s a long way from play­ing, but the fact he’s out on the grass now do­ing foot­ball work, not just in the gym get­ting smashed on the rower or on the bike. It’s an­other pos­i­tive sign around the place, hav­ing him still to come back. It doesn’t guar­an­tee any­thing and the play­ers play­ing at the minute de­serve all the credit.

You had a chat with Reuben af­ter the game, what did he make of it?

He thought it was a good game, but we didn’t chat too much about the game. His lit­tle man, Broomy is his favourite player and he got a pic­ture with him at the end. I saw him point­ing at some­one and it wasn’t me ob­vi­ously! It’s great that he’s com­ing down and we’ve al­ways said, har­ness the group. It doesn’t win you any­thing, but it does help and we have a good group. When it’s great, it’s great and when it’s good it’s al­ways good, but in times of ad­ver­sity, and this team came through it a lit­tle bit last year as we were in the bot­tom two in Jan­uary, but they stuck to­gether. That’s the key and win, lose or draw we stick to­gether.

» Danny Mayor you say is the best player in the league and you’d al­ways want him in your team, but Ryan Broom, maybe the clos­est thing you have got to him. He’s do­ing all right at the mo­ment isn’t he?

Yes, it’s fair to say he’s do­ing all right! He’s en­joy­ing his foot­ball and that po­si­tion gives him free­dom. When I put him back to right wing-back next week I am sure he’ll get the hump! It’s great that he has great ver­sa­til­ity and we have a few play­ers who can play in dif­fer­ent po­si­tions and he’s one of them. He gives en­ergy and qual­ity. It’s all right hav­ing en­ergy and just run­ning around like a crisp packet in the wind, he does it with game un­der­stand­ing and in­tel­li­gence, adding num­bers to his game now too, which is al­ways what peo­ple look at.

» Is he claim­ing the goal?

I don’t know, was it him? I don’t care! I didn’t see as I was cel­e­brat­ing with the staff as that was game over at that point. There was a lot of ten­sion and re­lief re­leased at that point when it went in. Alex (Ad­dai) did well when he came on and Jonte (Smith) did well for the goal, with a bit of com­po­sure, rather than thrash­ing at it. That is what I was pleased with. For the first goal...longy (Sean Long) had the ball 40 yards up and he just tossed it into the box. With re­spect we have Gav Reilly who is not in your team to win tow­er­ing head­ers. But if you put qual­ity into the box, as we did for Gav in the sec­ond half, when he hits the bar, it gives you a chance and it was pleas­ing that we took that on.

» Not a bad cross for the first goal was it from Sean Long?

It was ex­cel­lent and he can cross, Longy. He has prob­a­bly ac­tu­ally been off it last cou­ple of games, only with his de­liv­ery and not with any­thing else. It was a cross that said go and head me in and Reg (Luke Var­ney) ob­vi­ously obliged.

» You’ve al­ways backed Conor Thomas even when he hasn’t been in the team ev­ery week, but in this run of four games are we see­ing what he is ca­pa­ble of?

We have al­ways known what Conor can do. The thing with putting Conor and Clem on in the sec­ond half is that they make you play. If you don’t play you might as well not have them on pitch. We have to be­lieve in them and trust each other.

The thing he’s added into his game is a lit­tle bit more phys­i­cal­ity and he un­der­stands some­times it’s not al­ways about get­ting on the ball. If the ball is whacked over your head you have to turn your shoulders and get af­ter it. He’s been fan­tas­tic and Clem was when he went on. He was un­lucky to come out of the team as he was ex­cel­lent against Steve­nage. That’s what we want, com­pe­ti­tion for places.

» That’s the first time Chel­tenham have won four League Two games in a row since Oc­to­ber 2011

I don’t think any­one saw this com­ing, but I have told the play­ers to en­joy ev­ery win.

Ryan Broom cel­e­brates af­ter his de­flected shot made it 2-0 at Ply­mouth

Cel­e­bra­tions for Luke Var­ney’s open­ing goal

Pic­tures: Antony Thomp­son/ TWM

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