Graham Kavanagh with Wycombe Wanderers match reaction
Manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the defeat at Wycombe on Saturday.
“The first half was very tight and I thought both teams competed all over the park,” he said. “I told the players at half time they needed to start at a faster tempo, but we conceded the goal.
“The good thing there was that we got straight back into it and, at that point, I thought we would go onto the front foot. But we gave away two silly goals and they really cost us.
“After that we got a man sent off through a lack of discipline so we have to go back to the drawing board again to make sure we are ready to go and get a result on Tuesday.”
“We talk about systems and formations and we have to find a way of playing that’s going to work for us,” he added. “We need to keep a clean sheet and that comes down to having players who want to do the work and take responsibility.
“I had a bit of a go at half time because I didn’t feel we were quite there at all. Wycombe were getting into good areas and I felt we were far too deep. I asked our centre halves to get us up the pitch but we didn’t win our second balls, for whatever reason. Whatever system you play you have to be competitive. There was no intelligence to what we did and it’s hard to find a reason for that.”
“We’ve brought players in who have experience and they should know how to stay in games and how to get them won,” he continued. “Football doesn’t change, wherever you play. You have to compete and win your battles and you have to be industrious in the middle areas of the park.
“The two centre backs had an indifferent performance and the four in midfield were nowhere near where I know they can play. The top two lacked service and it all comes together to show that we have to match teams for effort and hard work if we want to get anything. There was a real lack of anticipation from everyone as to where the play could develop, and we’ve paid the price because of it.”
“In terms of getting the results we want, I think we need to show more courage,” he said. “We’re finding it difficult to come to terms with this league but we are going to have to do that quickly. I keep using the word bravery and we have to show that in so many different ways. We have to want to get on the ball and the first thing we have to do is win our battles.
“It isn’t pretty football and it won’t be for most of the season. We got back into the game with an equaliser and I was very much thinking that we were in the ascendancy and that we would nick it. When you give away two silly, cheap goals, as we did, you just can’t legislate for them. That’s really disappointing for us along with the fact we lost our discipline a little bit when Alex [Marrow] was sent off. Overall the standard just wasn’t good enough.”
“When we recruited this season it was to get the spine of the team as strong as possible,” he explained. “We didn’t have David Amoo, he’s injured, so we didn’t have a natural balance on the right hand side to play 4-4-2.
“Having said that, talk about tactics and systems are irrelevant to me. It’s about players manning up and facing what’s in front of them. We saw against Derby - a nice, pretty sid - that we can match them and play. You don’t get that in League Two. You have to win the battles first of all and you have to accept and understand what this league is all about.
“It’s in your face football and you have to close people down and win the ball in areas which will punish the opposition team. We haven’t done it in this game and we can’t really have any complaints about the result. Players need to evaluate their own performance and, if they see it isn’t good enough, they have to make sure they put it right.
“If one or two of the players didn’t understand what League Two is about they certainly do now. We’re getting punished for silly individual mistakes and it really is costing us.”
“We’ll look at where we are with injuries and we’ll pick a team to do a job on Tuesday,” he concluded. “Matt Robson has hurt his knee, so we’ll see how that is, and we have one or two carrying knocks.
“Troy [Archibald-Henville] isn’t fit, he’ll be out for two weeks with a lower leg problem, so he won’t be back. It will come down to those who are selected to give us honesty and hard work and hopefully get us a result.”