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MANAGER: Not good enough

20 October 2013

Graham Kavanagh on the Oldham game

Manager Graham Kavanagh spoke to us following the weekend away defeat at Oldham. 

"It's vital that every player plays to their maximum and that just wasn't there today," he admitted. "We improved in the second half but we didn't reach the levels we expect.

"The referee gave an awful decision for the penalty and he was inconsistent with the rest of his game. They did what they needed to do to win the game and all credit to them. 

"I wasn't really sure how the referee only played five minutes added time because we made three substitutions and they made three, and we had three players booked and they had two. That is five minutes straight away, but he actually booked their keeper for time wasting and didn't seem to add any time on for that."

On his dismissal from the technical area, he said: "I sarcastically clapped him because he hadn't given us a decision all day and that was obviously wrong of me. He decided he wanted to be the bigger man and send me off so I couldn't do my job. That was his choice. 

"It's been a frustrating day because we didn't play to the levels we would have liked. We looked like we were going to get a goal in the last ten minutes or so and you could feel in the stand that their fans were getting nervous. 

"They were getting very deep, we gained a lot of momentum and we were putting a lot of balls in the box. Lee [Miller] had a good chance and the keeper made a very good save, and there were a couple of other chances where we could have got a goal. It wasn't to be." 

"We can't blame anybody," he continued. "We have to look at ourselves because we know we need to perform better than we did. I've said to the players that one defeat in six games is a fantastic return and we'll now start concentrating on getting another run going on Tuesday night. 

"I will learn a lot about myself as a manager in the next couple of days because it's our first defeat. It's easy when you're winning and everybody is patting you on the back, but right now this hurts. 

"I'm sure it's hurting the fans, who were fantastic again today and really got behind the lads. We're all disappointed we couldn't give them anything to cheer about. We'll watch the DVD on Sunday morning after training so we can look at what we could have done better and why we didn't perform like we have done for the last few weeks." 

"We were very happy with Pascal [Chimbonda]," he confirmed. "He still needs to get used to our style of play. He hasn't played for a number of months so his understanding of the game will only improve. I did think he tired a little bit towards the end, which was to be expected, but I think he'll only get better."

"They had a couple of opportunities towards the end of the game when we were chasing it but I didn't think they really cut us open at any point during the game," he said. "We did struggle to implement our game plan on them, and when you don't pass the ball well enough you're always going to find it hard. 

"The good thing is that the players are all very disappointed. They know they can play better and I told them at half time that it was the worst we've played since we took over." 

"I'm disappointed for the group and for the fans," he continued. "I hate losing, I don't even like losing against my kids, that's just how I am. The players gave everything but we lacked the cutting edge we've had in previous games. 

"There are positives to take from the game. The fact that Pascal got through 90 minutes and Lee [Miller] came back in and got 20 minutes is massive for us. However, right now this is hurting and I'm very disappointed. The performance was not good enough." 

"We need a platform to build on during games," he explained. "We need boys to be men because football is a difficult industry and it won't wait for anybody. 

"That was why I changed the shape at half time. I thought we needed a bit more up top to give us a better chance of getting up the pitch. We were a lot better in the second half but the first half wasn't anywhere near good enough."

"We'll make sure we're better on Tuesday," he insisted. "The lads know winning games doesn't come easy. We need to earn our luck and win our battles across the pitch and I don't think enough of the players did that today. 

"It was touch and go as to whether Lee [Miller] would be involved but I felt he would benefit from getting 20 minutes under his belt to get him back into the swing of things. He came on and nearly got us back into the game with his header and you can see how good his understanding of the game is. 

"We'll see how he comes through the next couple of days but I would think it's still too early for him to start a game. The last thing we want is for him to play and get another injury that sets him back 8-10 weeks.

"We'll be in on Sunday, we'll look and think about everything that's happened and we'll go again to make sure we're ready for Tuesday night."

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