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INTERVIEW: A long, long way to go

19 August 2013

Defender on the Coventry City game

Defender Sean O’Hanlon gave us some immediate reaction to the disappointing home game against Coventry City just after full time at the weekend.

“I don’t know what to say, really,” he said. “Coventry started really well and they got the early goal, and our confidence isn’t high at the moment. We just couldn’t get out of our half and, when we did have the ball, there was a lack of energy due to the amount of chasing we had to do.

“It looks at the moment that once the first goal has gone in then one or two follow. That obviously isn’t acceptable. 

“It’s hard to say why that happens because we’ve worked hard in training and we’ve done everything the gaffer asked of us. We set up right, we worked on shape and we prepared as well as we could.”

“I think it’s a confidence issue right through the team,” he added. “We don’t seem to keep the ball for any length of time and it feels like we’re defending on the back foot. 

“We shot ourselves in the foot again with just three or four minutes on the clock and it just isn’t good enough. Everyone is gutted. We’ve had a good week of training and the gaffer had briefed us on their players, and what they were likely to do, and it just hasn’t happened for us today.”

As for how the team can start to turn things round, he said: “We need to set ourselves some targets. Things like making sure we get to half time with a clean sheet so that we give ourselves a chance.

“We need targets right through the team - in defence, attack and midfield. It’s important that we all keep going because it’s only the third game and there’s still a long, long way to go. 

“There are good players in the dressing room and we just need to raise the confidence. That comes with getting a result. If you look at the team then individually we are just as good as any side. If we can get the first goal in a game it makes a huge difference, and if we can then get to half time with a clean sheet it will be massive. It’s all about hitting those little targets we have to set ourselves.”

“I think as a senior player you do feel more responsibility,” he admitted. “Young Kev Feely had his hands on his head after the game and I’ve already had a little word with him. These are all young boys and they’ve got to learn, so I’ll probably have another chat with him on Monday morning.”

“Personally, I felt ready for today,” he said. “I’ve been out for four or five weeks but I’ve trained all this week. I didn’t really play much through pre-season but I do look after myself as well as I can. 

“I obviously wasn’t very sharp but I’ve come through it and I needed that 90 minutes. There hasn’t been a reserve game for me to get involved in so that was my first chance to get back up to speed.”

And on the loud grumbles from the terraces, he said: “Of course we’re behind the manager. He works tirelessly with his backroom staff with the sessions they put on for us and we were briefed all week on what the game would be like. 

“During training, Kav [Graham Kavanagh] often takes the strikers away and works on finishing and the gaffer works on defensive shape. We go over and over what we need to do. To a certain extent it’s down to the players on the pitch to get us a result. We have to start making that happen.”

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