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INTERVIEW: The stats don't lie

15 September 2014

Antony Sweeney with reaction to the Bury game

Team captain Antony Sweeney spoke to us following the Bury home defeat on Saturday.

"We're going through a tough patch at the moment," he admitted. "If people are looking for a new manager to come through the door with some sort of magic wand I don't think it's going to happen. We've lost one manager and we've got two caretakers in charge now but it's down to the 11 that step out onto the pitch to get us out of this.

"I'm sure the lads that have been in the game for a long time will know when you're in this situation there is no easy route out. It'll be hard work but we'll put that in and see where it takes us."

"Bury are a good team, who will be up there at the end of the season, but we sat down as a squad before the season started and put ourselves in that bracket as well," he told us. "We're looking a bit foolish now because of the position we're in but it's still early days in the league. 

"We need to iron out the mistakes. We're having to score really good goals but we're letting teams score easy goals against us. They aren't having to work hard enough, and that isn't having a go at anyone in particular, it's just something we need to work on as a team."

"The stats don't lie," he admitted. "We haven't scored enough and we're conceding too many, so there's nobody who can look at themselves in the mirror and say they're doing their job.

"There are a lot of errors in every game. That's when you hope your team mate helps you out but, when everyone is making errors, there's no one there to dig you out. We're going to make mistakes, that's why we're League Two footballers, but we have to come together as a team and help each other out when things do go wrong. 

"That isn't happening at the moment but I don't think it's through lack of effort or people not wanting to do it. Confidence is drained and maybe the rub of the green isn't going our way, but we can't use that as an excuse. We need to get ourselves out of this situation."

"I can only speak for myself but the situation with the manager isn't affecting my performances," he said. "I gave everything to Kav while he was here. I've tried to do the same with Tony [Caig] and Paul [Thirlwell] and I'll carry on doing the same when the next manager comes in. 

"When you're in the team you have to see that as a reward for the performances you're putting in during training. When you aren't in the team you have to do everything you can to get back in it. I don't think many of us can say after this game that we've done our job."

"I'm really proud to be wearing the armband and the extra responsibly I'm feeling at the moment is massive," he admitted. "Paul Thirlwell is the club captain and when he plays he'll have the armband. It's good to know he's trusted me with that responsibility at the moment. We've got a lot of young players at the moment and it's down to the more senior players to try and guide them."

Looking ahead to Tuesday night, he said: "Shrewsbury is always a tough place to go. Apart from the Bury game, we've kept ourselves in every other game and we've been let down by mistakes. 

"It's a quick turn around this week, which might be a positive for us. We'll make sure we rest up and try and put this to the back of our mind as much as we can. We have to try and come together as a team and make ourselves a lot more solid. It might not be pretty, it might need somebody to just kick the ball into row z every time it comes towards our goal. We just need the three points, however they come, so we can start working our way back up the league."

"Some points on the road are vital this week," he continued. "We're bottom of the league and we obviously don't want to be down there for too long. We need to start climbing up the table, but we've been saying that since the Luton game at the start of the season. We won't fear going to Shrewsbury, they're a League Two club for a reason, the same as us, and if they were an outstanding side they wouldn't be in this league. 

"There's absolutely no reason why we can't go there and get a result, whether it's a good performance or if we have to grind something out. It might not be pretty on the eye and I think we'd all take an own goal and a 1-0 victory.

"We've had little spells in every game where we've performed well, but little spells aren't going to win us games. I don't want to sound too down because I know we've got it in us, we just need to turn those little spells into extended periods of pressure. We need to put that together as a team, we need to be solid at the back then create chances and make sure we kick on."

"When I came to the club I said that when I was relegated with Hartlepool this division came as a bit of a surprise to us," he said. "It's possible that we're seeing a bit of that now. There aren't that many outstanding teams in this league. All games are tough but they're all winnable. 

"You have to grind it out for the first hour or so but after that the quality you have in the team should shine through. If you don't win your 1v1 battles across the pitch then every team is capable of beating you. It might have been a shock to some at the start of the season but they'll definitely know what it's all about now."

"Ahead of the season I spoke to a lot of people in football and I honestly said we'd be up there and in the mix," he told us. "I think we've got more than enough in the dressing room to have a really good season. 

"I was basing that on the fact that everyone was going to perform to the best of their ability. At this moment in time I don't think enough of us are doing that. I'd be a lot more worried right now if I was looking in the dressing room and thinking we had done that, because it isn't good enough, but there is definitely a lot more to come from this group."

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