Graham Kavanagh on the Sheff Utd game
United manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the Sheffield United away game shortly after full time on Wednesday night.
“I’m very proud of the players,” he said. “I thought they gave a very good time a great deal of problems.
“We were particularly good in the second half and I thought we were the side who looked most likely to score leading up to the final whistle. It just wasn’t to be for us because we lacked that little bit of know-how to get the goal I thought we deserved. That will come if we keep playing this way.”
“I was particularly pleased with the way we applied ourselves,” he added. “This can be a difficult place to come because the crowd get right behind their team and it can get intimidating. We all hate losing but we have done things properly tonight and I will always accept that. We stuck together and the work rate was fantastic.
“You have to give credit to Sheffield United for the run they are on. They have found consistency and momentum and Nigel [Clough] has got them playing in a very effective way. We matched them and frustrated them for long spells and it gives us a lot of confidence going forward.”
“I was disappointed with some of the decisions made by the officials but I think that was the same for both sides,” he told us. “That’s frustrating but you just have to get on with it and I thought we did that. At big stadiums like this you need things to go for you and that didn’t happen for us at all in this one.
“The players were very quiet and down in the dressing room and we immediately started the process of picking them up. Yes, we lost the game but the manner in which they went about things was first class. That’s something they have to take forward into what is now a very important run of games.”
On the new arrivals, he said: “They have come in and had to play against one of the best sides in the division at the moment and they have done very, very well. Reece [Brown] looked very composed even though you could tell he lacked game minutes. I think he’ll be a great signing for us.
“James [Pearson] knows how to defend and he stays tight and makes things difficult. He grew into it and he’s another who we think will get better and better. Both lads have shown that they will add something and it’s something for them to build on as we go on from here.”
“I think the only really disappointing thing from tonight, other than the result, is that we have another added to the injury list,” he commented. “Liam [Noble] has done something to his ankle following a tackle in the second half and we aren’t sure where we’re at with it at the moment. That adds to Paul Thirlwell, Sean O’Hanlon and Matty Robson who are still being assessed on a day to day basis. Mark Gillespie has come back after a week at St George’s Park and that’s another we will have to look at closely. Hopefully we’ll get good news on one or two because we do need as many bodies as possible to help us to do the job we need to do.
“We need the fans to help us with that as well. We’ve seen with the supporters here tonight that they really got behind their team when we had them under pressure. That kind of thing gives everyone a lift and it’s what we will need as we get into these important games. We need everyone to be positive because we want to make Brunton Park a fortress again. That isn’t easy but if we can stay together then we will be a much stronger and better unit for it.
“We know we’ve got the players to do the job and get us out of trouble. We’ve had to use younger lads at times but they’ve all stood up and given their all. That’s all you can ever ask. We’ve got a very good spirit in that dressing room and we need to harness that and make sure we are at our maximum every week.
“We now have a run of games against teams who are around us and it is a very important period. As I say, we have enough to keep us in this league and we now have to turn that into results and points very quickly.”