Graham Kavanagh on the Rotherham game
Manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the Saturday home defeat against Rotherham United.
“I’m disappointed that we lost the game in the manner we did and especially with it being so late in the game,” he said. “I didn’t think we were anywhere near good enough in the first half but a bit of sublime skill from Lee Miller got us back into it.
“I understood a little bit why we weren’t on our game because the pitch wasn’t great and they went very long and direct. They were looking to get behind us and turn us and they were looking for set pieces, which they did fairly well.
“I thought we were the better side in the second half. We passed the ball better but we didn’t have the cutting edge. That’s why it was so disappointing to lose the game as late as we did.”
“Things don’t always go for you when you’re down where we are,” he added. “I think that’s the third time they’ve won a game in added time recently and that’s because we switched off. Courtney [Meppen-Walter] didn’t get close enough to his man, and that allowed the cross, and it’s just poor defending. It actually came from our throw in and the number of errors, along with the number of big players who didn’t perform, made things hard for us.
“We looked an inferior team in the first half and that is really disappointing. We manned up in the second half because we took responsibility and we tried to play. We were camped in with the wind in the first half but I wanted the boys to step up and I honestly thought they did that.
“We changed the shape and we tried to take the game to them, but we looked a little bit tired and jaded. It just wasn’t going for us today in any way.”
“The first half was a big disappointment because I don’t think we looked to make angles or help each other,” he explained. “The energy levels were there but I keep going back to the word intelligence. If we’re going to play in the way we want to play then we are going to have to be more unselfish. You have to make space and you have to have the movement. That wasn’t there for us.
“They are a side playing with a lot of confidence and they’re at the right end of the table. The momentum is with them and I think that showed.”
“I think we need to give the group a couple of days off,” he said. “Fatigue was definitely a factor. A few of them looked dead on their feet and that’s understandable because the pitches we’ve been training on haven’t been great. It was then a heavy pitch to play on for this game, but that isn’t the fault of anybody in particular. It’s just been difficult.
“We need to get on with it and we need to give them some energy this week. We’ll get some belief back into them because this is just a hiccup with the late goal. We’re still four points away from the danger zone so we look to fight again next week. The lads are very disappointed in the dressing room. However, it’s now been and gone. We’ve lost so we have to look to put it right as soon as we can.”
“I thought the fans were incredibly patient today,” he agreed. “That’s a real bonus. I do know it’s difficult when you’re getting criticised as a player, so fair play to the fans because it was a decent crowd for us. They got behind us and they didn’t show their frustration, which was great. Again, they’ll be disappointed with the way we lost and we just didn’t have enough to get the win or result we thought we might have been able to get.
“I don’t think our centre backs got the protection they needed. There were a lot of mistakes and we certainly contributed to our own downfall. You have to give Rotherham credit because they have their style and they ask questions. The first goal was a comedy of errors for us and we just didn’t defend properly for the second.
“I’ll take responsibility for that because I have told Jordan [Parker] to be as aggressive as he could be. I’ve told him to come for things, and it was probably the wrong decision, but he did it with the right intentions in mind."
“I think it’s vitally important that we get competition for the centre backs," he said. "We’re one injury away from a serious crisis in that area so I have identified who I want. I’m hoping that the club will help us out this week so that he will be able to come to us. I am led to believe that the player is interested in coming so we need to try and make that happen. If it doesn’t then we need to move on and target someone else.”
“The injury situation is what it is,” he commented. “James Berrett trained today [Saturday] but we expect him to be another two weeks or so, and I’m told that Paul Thirlwell could be up to four weeks. We’ve just got to soldier on, try and get confidence back in the group and go into the Brentford game with a good game plan.”