Graham Kavanagh with reaction to the Stevenage game
Manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the 0-0 draw with Stevenage at the weekend.
“I thought it was a great performance,” he said. “We got everything from it apart from a goal. We were the team looking to get forward and we created some really good chances. We just couldn’t put the ball in the net.
“I don’t want the players to start feeling any added pressure because they’re giving us the performances at the moment. I’m sure the results will come because of that.
“I think we’ll be saying the same things at every press conference between now and the end of the season because the need to be picking up wins gets bigger and bigger. That’s just the way it is.
“We know we have to start winning games at some stage and we’re fighting like mad to get the right team on the pitch. I know that every player who is picked is fighting like mad to get us those results and I certainly can’t fault anything from this game, other than the fact we didn’t get the ball in the back of the net. That’s the hardest thing to do in football, as we all know, so it’s a point gained as far as I am concerned.”
“I think there is a little bit of anxiety but you’d expect that,” he added. “That makes it more difficult to play through the lines and there’s nervousness about giving the ball away in the wrong areas. We tried to pass it on a difficult surface and we had the extra man up top with Sam Byrne playing beside Lee Miller. We wanted to get the goal but it just didn’t happen for us.
“We probably had enough chances to win three games. That leaves us feeling disappointed but I’m really pleased with the performance. It’s just the result, which wasn’t what we wanted, but it isn’t a crisis by any shape or form.”
“We’ve made this season difficult with the start we had,” he explained. “We’re paying the price for that now with the position we’re in. There is that little bit of pressure which comes with it but I thought the lads handled it all well.
“I’ve said all along, every game is important and you have to take it one at a time. We’ll keep going until we get enough points to keep us in the league. I think we’ve seen that the lads are prepared to do the work and any mistakes they make along the way will be honest mistakes.
“I just felt we were the team in the driving seat. We looked like the team which was going to score. If we keep getting that level of drive and energy then I have no doubt we will pick up the results we want to see.”
“We got another injury, with Pascal Chimbonda, and it is incredible with what we’re going through at the moment,” he commented. “It’s a calf problem but it’s too early to say what the extent of the damage is. We’re still waiting on news from Liam Noble as well. He sees the surgeon on Monday and we’ll find out then what type of injury that one is.
“All we can do is get on with it. Hopefully we’ll start to see one or two of the injured players come back because this is one of the youngest teams we have ever fielded. Credit to them, because they are giving us the energy levels and the work-rate. You can’t fault them for that.”
And on his substitutions, he said: “A few of our supporters had a go at me and I have no problem with that. They were upset when Danny [Redmond] came off and he is a fantastic player with a huge amount of potential. He’s now played a lot of games on the run and it’s something he hasn’t done before. It’s catching up with him a little bit and we have got to look after him. We’ll keep using our players in that way to try to get the best out of them all.”
“I thought our new players were superb,” he continued. “James Pearson did a tremendous job and particularly when he came across to cover the centre halves. Reece Brown was excellent. He won every header and he was composed in his decision making.
“Fair play to Courtney [Meppen-Walter] because he came on and had a tremendous block at the near post. It was a very pleasing defensive performance. Jordan Pickford was decisive and the two midfield players, who usually struggle against a three, dominated the middle of the pitch really well. They won the second balls, they competed and they got us forward.
“I think Sam Byrne is getting stronger and stronger. He’s the one player in the squad who can go both ways and he can shoot off both feet. He matches up with Lee Miller well and he’s always a threat off the shoulder. We have some good players here and we’re confident that we have what we need to take us forward.”
“Like I say, overall I am very pleased with what I’ve seen,” he told us. “The fans were different class. They got frustrated towards the end but I totally understand that. They supported and lifted their players, and long may that continue.”