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MANAGER: It's all lessons learned

27 October 2013

Graham Kavanagh on the Bristol City game

Manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the Bristol City home defeat shortly after full time on Saturday.

“It’s always disappointing to lose a game and especially when it’s at home,” he said. “Credit to Bristol City because I thought they played very well. 

“Jay Emmanuell-Thomas was an absolute handful for them up front and he was really up for it today. We told the lads before the game that he would be a big threat and that’s how it turned out. We dealt with him first half but we couldn’t deal with him after the break and he has made the difference.”

“I thought we played well in the first half but that was without being really convincing,” he told us. “We were obviously happy to be one up at the break but the one concern I did have was that it became really windy after about 25 minutes. That was in our favour in the first half and I knew it would become much stronger as the game went on. That meant it was important for us to protect our 18 yard box because we were going to have to concede ground. 

“That isn’t an excuse because it was just a bad day at the office. The positives are that the lads worked hard for each other and they put a real shift in. They just lacked that little bit of intelligence and one or two individual mistakes crept in as well. That has cost us in the end.”

“The fans were magnificent, as they have been right the way through,” he said. “It’s just disappointing that we couldn’t give them a win here at home. It’s been a while since we’ve played here but, to be fair, they always react well if they see an honest shift from their players. 

“Unfortunately we became a little bit route one in the second half and that certainly wasn’t the game plan. We wanted to pass the ball and keep it on the ground but we didn’t manipulate things like that enough in my opinion. We took the easy option which was to get the ball into the box from deep, and their big defenders were ready for that. That’s a little bit of a lack of experience rather than a lack of responsibility. The players have given plenty of effort but we just weren’t good enough on the day.”

“I knew that this wouldn’t be an easy game because Bristol City are a good side,” he continued. “I think this will be the turning point in their season and good luck to them. They caused us problems with the way they set up and we tried to counter that by reverting to a 4-4-2, but it didn’t quite work for us this time round. Hats off to Sean [O’Driscoll] because they came here with an excellent game plan and they deserved the win.

“I thought we could have done more when we were 1-0 up to make life more difficult for them. You have to strike while you can in this game and we needed to be more aggressive in our attempts to use the ball in their half. We didn’t do that and we were reacting rather than being proactive. It’s all lessons learned and we move on from here.”

“The biggest thing that has pleased me today is the honesty shown by the players,” he revealed. “There is absolutely nothing pleasing about losing a game, but Sean O’Hanlon has immediately come in and put his hands up straight away to admit being at fault for a goal. That’s not a problem for me because he has been outstanding from the day I took over. 

“We took Brad Potts off for tactical reasons, and he was distraught because he had just given a goal away. As much as I didn’t like to see that, I do love the fact that he was thinking about what had happened and that he wanted to put it right. It’s a huge learning curve for all of the younger players and he will make loads more mistakes in his career, because we all do. If he keeps showing that attitude and appetite to put it right then he’ll be fine.”

“I looked at the way the lads played on Tuesday night and I thought they deserved another go at it. They trained really well all week but you’re always going to be disappointed when you lose. It’s important that we don’t get too down because the confidence is still there. I’m sure we’ll have a few defeats through the course of the season but if we keep getting that honesty we’ll have a few more wins to talk about as well.”

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