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INTERVIEW: Fans were fantastic

16 April 2014

Paul Thirlwell on the Preston game

Paul Thirlwell spoke to us ahead of the Tuesday morning training session following the disappointing defeat at Preston on Saturday. 

"It was disastrous as far as football performances go," he admitted. "We have to take all of the criticism that comes our way and I would just like to apologise to the fans because the performance wasn't good enough. 

"We were expecting a difficult game but we were confident that we could get something out of it. If we'd lost 2 or 3-1 we would obviously be disappointed, but we shouldn't be losing 6-1 to anybody in this league. We all have to man up now. You can't feel sorry for yourself or complain about something which you could have affected on Saturday when we clearly didn't do that." 

"You can go through the entire game and look at things that went wrong," he continued. "We didn't start the game well, the first goal is paramount and we didn't get it, and we then conceded a sloppy second. 

"We gave ourselves a bit of a lifeline with our goal and we went in at half time with our tails up. We came out for the second half with the old cliché of make sure you don't concede early, but that's exactly what we did. From then on it was just a nightmare. 

"It can't knock our confidence because, if it does, we shouldn't be in this business. We owe it to the club, the fans and ourselves to put it right on Friday. It isn't a time to feel sorry for ourselves and the only way we can turn the negative comments into positive once is by winning the game on Friday."

"We came in on Sunday to train and everybody was naturally down," he said. "The day after the game wasn't a good day, nor should it have been, and it was fully justified in getting us to come into work. 

"All I can say is what's done is done. I know nobody wants to hear that but we haven't got time to dwell on it. Had we won the game 6-1 we wouldn't have been able to dwell on it because we've got two massive games coming up over the Easter weekend." 

"Nobody ever wants to be on the end of a 6-1 defeat," he said. "On a personal level, you don't want to be remembered as being part of a performance like that. We need to put it right and we need to put it right fast. Thankfully we've got two games in quick succession where we can do exactly that. 

"We can't just completely draw a line under the Preston game and forget about it though. I think it needs to niggle away at you, in the back of your mind, just to make sure you never let it happen again. We have to draw a line under it in the sense that we have to look to the next game, because there's only five left and we need points on the board."

"The only positive for us from it was that the fans were fantastic on Saturday," he insisted. "All you can do after a performance like that is go over and thank them for their support. You have to take the criticism they dish out in the right manner because they are more than entitled to do it.  

"I'm sure they'll be with us on Friday and in the remaining games. We've spoken all season about trying to get fans through the gates and we're all aware that Saturday's performance won't have helped that. All we can do is apologise and move on to Friday." 

"Our home form has been decent over recent weeks and we had a little run of clean sheets before the Preston game," he told us. "If we can keep a zero against our names we've got a good chance of winning games and picking up points, which is obviously what we need to be doing."

"The Easter weekend does give us a huge opportunity to get some points on the board. If we can get off to a good start on Friday against Walsall then we've got a great chance. 

"It's still in our hands. If we pick up the points available to us then we'll be fine. We have to take each game as it comes, we'll try and get the win on Friday and take that momentum into the last four games. 

"We've got enough in the dressing room to get out of this situation. Our form prior to the Preston game was showing all the signs you'd want to see. We were solid and Gaz [Gary Madine] has started getting his goals. We have to get back to the solid unit that we have been in recent games, as quickly as we can, and we can move on from there."

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