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INTERVIEW: We have to stick together

2 December 2014

Paul Thirlwell on the Newport County game

Club captain Paul Thirlwell gave us his reaction to the weekend home game against Newport County.

“There wasn’t really a great deal in the game,” he said. “There was a lot of hustle and bustle in the first half and they scored a good goal from their point of view.

“It wasn’t so good from ours because they could try that ten times, and I can guarantee that it wouldn’t go in on nine of them. I think we stayed in the game and we wanted to come out in the second half and put them under pressure. 

“We conceded early again and that was from a set piece, which was really disappointing. We got our goal back and pushed on without really having any clear cut chances. Dave Amoo had one saved on the line and we just couldn’t get the goal we needed.”

“We let another one in late on in the game and I have to say I wasn’t happy with that one myself,” he admitted. “It was frustrating because we got our second but it was a day when it just wasn’t to be. I don’t know if naïve is the right word to use because they kept spraying the ball at us and they put us under pressure a bit. That’s obviously what they’re all about and it’s getting them results.”

Looking forward from here, he said: “We’ve just got to be tough and we have to stick together. 

“We’ve had a good run of form at home, we’ve won four out of six, so it’s not like we haven’t been producing performances up here. It was disappointing that we couldn’t get a stranglehold on Saturday and I think it would have been interesting if we’d managed to get level when we were on top in the second half.”

“I think it was a good example of what this division is about to everyone,” he agreed. “We’re all learning all the time and this level is new to me as well. I’ve never played here before. 

“It is what it is. It’s all honest lads who aren’t making a fortune in the game but who know they are very privileged to be in it. They work hard every day, and you can talk about ability all day long, but we have to bring that willingness to win to every game first and foremost. That will allow us to get the players on the ball who can make things happen for us.”

“We came up short in the basics of the game and that’s what they did better than us,” he told us. “I think you can pick the bones out of every goal but when you’re talking about conceding from set pieces, that’s a big thing for us. 

“We work on them relentlessly, in terms of defending and attacking, and you never like to concede because inevitably it’s down to someone switching off. I don’t think we were ever out of the game until they got their third. We were pretty much dead and buried when that happened. We kept going but we certainly need to put ourselves in better situations earlier on in games.”

On the feeling in the dressing room, he said: “We’ve had a good reaction since the gaffer came in and we’ve had some good results. We needed to get people back onside with performances and results and I think we’d have taken four wins out of six when he arrived. 

“It’s not like teams are coming here and dominating us, so that’s the plus side. We now need to start picking up points and getting ourselves back on track away from home as well.

“We do need to realise the situation we’re in though. We’re at the bottom of the league and we have to start making sure we do the basics well. If we get that we’ll start picking up results.”

“Ability wise that dressing is 100% better than where we are,” he said. “However, better teams than us have found themselves in worse situations so you can’t just expect things to happen. We have to realise that. 

“If you look at Newport or Wycombe, I wouldn’t say individually they have better players than us, but they have a team ethic they stick to and it shows what momentum can do for you.

“We’ve had that same momentum but it’s been cut back a little bit. We need to work hard in training now and find a way of playing the way we want to play. It’s all about winning the second balls, getting into good areas and putting teams under pressure. I don’t think Newport had a mass of chances but they didn’t let us relax. That’s what we have to do to other teams.”

And on his return to action, he said: “It’s obviously good to be back but it’s never nice to be involved in a defeat. 

“I enjoy playing and I’ll do whatever the gaffer asks me to do. It wasn’t good enough as a team in this one and we know we’re all going to make mistakes at times. Like I say, that happened with me for their third goal. You’ve got to be big enough to stand up and admit it when it happens because we take the pats on the back when we play well. 

“The gaffer has made a few changes since he’s come in but it’s the same players out on the training ground every week. Everyone knows their job, roles and responsibilities so I wouldn’t look at that as any reason for a poor result. He picks the team he thinks is good enough to win every game.”

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