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INTERVIEW: Absolutely gutted

18 November 2013

Leon McSweeney on the Crawley game

Defender Leon McSweeney spoke to us following the Crawley game shortly after full time on Saturday.

"It's always horrible to concede that late in the game, especially when you're at fault for it," he admitted. "They didn't pose any threat whatsoever for the whole afternoon so to gift them the equaliser was very disappointing. 

"The ten minutes before the goal were a bit frantic so I was trying to put my foot on the ball and make a few passes to calm things down. In hindsight I probably should have put my boot through it and sent it into the stand. Unfortunately that's the way it goes in football sometimes."

"I'm experienced enough to know that I've made a mistake so I don't need the lads to tell me," he continued. "They know I'm an honest guy so I didn't feel like I needed to come in and apologise because it goes without saying that I'm absolutely gutted. 

"We need to dust it off and get ourselves ready for Tuesday and the big positive is that it didn't cost us the game. I'll be chewing it over all weekend because I'm angry with myself at the moment. Unfortunately it isn't the first time I've made a mistake in a game so you do get used to dealing with it. That obviously doesn't make it any easier but I should be able to box it off and concentrate on Tuesday night quickly. 

"I've obviously been out injured for a few weeks so it was nice to come straight back into the team. They tried numerous rotations with the wingers coming in and the forwards playing down the channels but it was all in front of us. 

"There was nothing too difficult that we had to deal with and they weren't dragging us out of position or anything like that. I can't remember having to defend many crosses on my side of the pitch and we dealt with most of what they had to offer. I don't think Ben [Amos] had a shot to save all afternoon so that does make it even more disappointing.

"We started both halves on the front foot and we really took the game to them in the first 15 minutes. They were struggling to get out of their half which is always enjoyable as a defender. We were quite forceful in our attacking play and we were getting forward a lot. We obviously started the second half really well and got the penalty and we felt really comfortable after that."

"There's nothing worse than being injured so it was just nice to be back on the pitch," he said. "I've had a relatively injury free career and I think four weeks is the longest I've had to deal with so I've been quite lucky in that respect. 

"I think Dolly [Neil Dalton] and Kate [Gascoigne] would agree that four weeks is long enough and they'll have been glad to be able to get me out of their room and back onto the pitch! I did think I might feel the effects in the last 20 minutes or so but I felt good and I don't think my performance showed that I'd been out for four weeks. 

"There's obviously a couple of new faces in the team since I last played but I think we had a decent understanding as a back five. Ben Amos only came in on Friday and went straight into the team and I thought he looked comfortable. Max [Ehmer] has been here a little bit longer but he's slotted in really well next to Sean [O'Hanlon] and looked assured in all of the games he's played."

"The margins in league one are very tight," he insisted. "I think Crawley were safely in mid-table before the game but they brought no attacking threat whatsoever. I think the key is to work out a pattern of play that we're all comfortable with. We had it for the first six games that I was involved in but we've lost our way a little bit. It's just about looking at how we were getting the results and knuckling down to make that happen again. It doesn't matter if it's ugly or pretty as long as we're getting the results.

"The injuries and suspensions that we've had definitely haven't helped. When you're using the same players every week and they're the ones who are on the end of the bad results it can knock confidence. We should have had the three points in this one but we'll take the positives and look forward to the game on Tuesday."

"The FA Cup is a fantastic competition to be involved in because every team in England is a part of it," he commented. "We know what we'll be up against because we've obviously played them already, but I think if we put in a professional performance we should get the right result. 

"I've never really been part of a team who caused a huge upset or one that's been on the wrong end of a giant killing. The closest we came at Orient was when we took Hull to a replay and we were actually the better side even though we went out in the end. 

"It's a nice tie for us on Tuesday and if we do get through we've got another home game against Brentford to look forward to. We won't be going into the game with any sort of complacency, we'll try and take the game to them and be the dominant team, but you can never say never in cup games. It's one we will approach just like we do with any other game."

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