Skip to main content Skip to site footer

INTERVIEW: We've set our standards

10 November 2015

Antony Sweeney on the FA Cup first round victory over Plymouth

Goalscorer Antony Sweeney spoke to us on Monday morning about the FA Cup first round victory at Plymouth.

"It was a good win," he told us. "They're obviously flying high in our league and I'm sure that performance will give them food for thought and tell them that we're going to come for them in the league as well.

"It was good to get through in the manner we did. Plymouth is always a difficult place to go and they're riding high in the league, so they're full of confidence. 

"To go there and win quite comfortably will give the lads a lot of confidence. They had the odd cross and the odd shot, which you would expect when you play away, but other than that they didn't get much else past us."

"It was one of our most professional performances of the season," he said. "We got the goals, defended well and we never looked like we were in trouble. We also carried a good threat going forward."

"We've set our standards high now," he admitted. "If we can perform like that against Plymouth there's no reason why we can't do it in every other game we play this season. Teams will always have blips and off performances every now and again, but as a marker that should be our standard now."

On his acrobatic goal, he explained: "I think it was Alex [Gilliead] who knocked it down and it came at an awkward position. I didn't really have time to think about it and I had my back to goal. It's one of those things where you just throw your foot at it and hope for the best really. As I landed on the floor I saw it hit the back of the net, which was pleasing.

"When you go forward for set plays like that you're not always going to get the first ball, so you've got to get yourself in a position where you think it might drop. It's happened a couple of times this season and I'm sure it should have happened a few more times as well. If I keep putting myself in those positions every now and again the ball is bound to drop in the right place.

"We scored at a good time and it put us on the front foot. For five or ten minutes after the goal we had a few more chances where we really could have put the game to bed. We obviously got the second goal but I think it could have been a lot wider margin after the first half.

"I think the second goal was probably the crucial one. At 1-0 they're still massively in the game, but getting that goal just before half time totally changes the dynamics. They had a real mountain to climb after that and we knew if we could see the first 15 minutes of the second half out the game would be ours. That's how it turned out." 

On the length of the journey, a near 780-mile round trip, he said: "You've just got to get on with it. There's no other choice but to get on the bus and grind it out. 

"It is difficult, there's no two ways about it. It's hard when you get back in the small hours then try and plan training schedules on top of that. All of the lads have done it throughout their careers so you just get used to it."

Speaking about the confidence in the dressing room, he said: "Even if you take results out of it, it's very high. If you look around at the players and the ability we've got in the squad, it's very good. 

"We've got good numbers and there are three or four lads missing out every week who could quite easily be starting. You look at the strength in depth and that gives you confidence on top of the results.

"You've got to buy into the competition for places it brings because you know if you don't perform then the chances are you won't be playing in the next game. People say competition is healthy and it's certainly proving that way at the moment."

Next up for United is the mere 545-mile round trip to the Memorial Stadium to play Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

"We trained in Bristol on the way to Plymouth so we know how long it's going to take us," he joked. "At least it's a couple of hours closer than last weekend but, that said, it's another game to look forward to. 

"They've had a decent start since coming back into the Football League this season and they'll be looking to build on it. As I say, our confidence is high so we will go there looking to take the game to them and get another positive result."

Advertisement block