Graham Kavanagh on the Crewe game
Manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the New Year’s Day defeat at Crewe.
“It’s another extremely frustrating one for us because we were nowhere near the levels we expect from this group, particularly in the first half,” he said. “I’ve just had a conversation where I’ve had to say that it’s difficult to explain why we have performed like this. We lacked energy and determination and we made things very hard for ourselves.
“All the things we’ve been doing over the last few weeks were missing. I think we had somewhere near 400 fans who came down and I’m gutted for them. We just weren’t anywhere near good enough or anywhere near what we expect to see.”
“I gave them a rollocking at half time because we looked ragged and we weren’t winning any of the second balls,” he continued. “We started better after the break and it could have been different if David Amoo’s shot had gone in. It hit the inside of the post and somehow stayed out, and you do wonder if it’s going to be your day when that kind of thing happens.
“We didn’t move the ball to our wide men quickly enough after that and we didn’t win the individual battles on enough occasions. Crewe stuck to their game plan and they stopped us from playing in their half. That’s when it comes down to the intelligence we keep talking about to find another way of keeping the ball and working your way through. We didn’t have that in our play until later in the game.”
“It is massively frustrating because we keep getting these performances, every four or five games or so, where we can’t really explain why we haven’t done our jobs,” he explained. “We seem to have got ourselves going and then we knock ourselves back. It’s something we will keep working hard to put right.
“The good thing is that the players are buying into what we want. They are working hard every day and they are as frustrated as anyone when something like this comes along. We do need to be patient because, as we keep saying, it is an ongoing process. But we desperately want to stop that feeling of taking a step back just when we start to gather a bit of momentum.”
“It’s been one of the most frustrating days so far,” he admitted. “We created chances in the second half but we didn’t really look like scoring until after the Tom Lawrence free kick. Against Peterborough we looked like scoring every time we went forward so it’s difficult to understand why that happens with the same group of players. We are enjoying playing at home at the moment, that’s something we wanted to achieve, but we want to produce that in every game we play.
“We have had to contend with different issues along the way and we’ve picked up some injuries which have added to the frustration,” he said. “Max Ehmer fell awkwardly on his shoulder in the second half and he’ll be assessed today and tomorrow. All things being well we are hopeful that he will train at some point over the next few days.
“Tom Lawrence had a stamp on the top of his foot but, again, initial reports suggest that he will be fine. Paul Thirlwell obviously pulled up with a calf problem, as we all saw. We’ll let that settle down and we’ll get it assessed fully once we get into next week.
“Courtney Meppen-Walter is another one who will be assessed over the next few days because he complained of a problem in the thigh/groin area. We’re hopeful that will settle and he’ll be good to go for the weekend. Sean O’Hanlon was rested completely because he came in the other day with some swelling on his knee. Again, we need to look at him over the next few days to see where we’re at.”
On the opening of the January transfer window, he said: “We’ve had conversations but we are now waiting for clubs to get back to us. My hope is that we can keep what we have and possibly add to it. The first one there should be Conor Townsend. He will do what he has to do with Hull and he should be in a position to sign with us until the end of the season on Friday. We’ll keep working away with the others and hopefully we’ll have more news in the coming days.”
“We’ll get the lads in, dust ourselves down and make sure we are bright and positive going into the weekend,” he concluded. “That’s a big game and it’s one we all want to enjoy. Hopefully we’ll get a positive reaction and we’ll make everyone feel proud of the club and their players on the day.”