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INTERVIEW: We've got to be better

5 December 2016

Danny Grainger on the Rochdale FA Cup game

We spoke to club captain Danny Grainger shortly after the FA Cup second round defeat against Rochdale on Saturday.

“We’re very disappointed,” he said. “The first goal was going to be massive in the game. Mind you, I thought we should have had a stonewall penalty in the first half. How we don’t get more with the way Raynesy [Michael Raynes] gets held in the box is beyond belief at times. He’s literally been rugby tackled and I spoke to the ref and told him he wouldn’t have dived in that situation because he was about to score.

“He was taken out, but we have to take it on the chin. We might get some later in the season that we maybe shouldn’t do. We aren’t going to sit here and blame the result on one decision, I thought it should have been a penalty, but it wasn’t given.

“We’ve got to be better," he continued. "I thought we were disappointing. Rochdale are a good side with some good young players. I think it shows what we’ve got in the dressing room when we’re disappointed not to beat a team who are in the play-offs in the league above us.

“For long periods of the game we matched them without being at our best. That shows the levels we can hit and the performances we can put in. We’re disappointed with the performance we put in today.

“If you look at the game you’d probably say we didn’t create enough chances. 99 times out of 100 games you probably wouldn’t say that about that team out there. There wasn’t enough quality in the final third from us all and we’ve paid the price.

“As much as the performance has disappointed us in cup games it doesn’t matter how well you play, you’ve just got to get through the game. We didn’t do enough to get through today. We’re a very demanding group, no one likes losing in that dressing room. We’ve got to make sure we bounce back on Tuesday night and put a performance in which merits the way we play."

“We’re all disappointed in the dressing room," he confirmed. "There will be some people who say it could be a blessing to be out, but we won’t accept a defeat in any competition. We take every game as seriously as the league. The league is our bread and butter but we’re still disappointed to get knocked out of the FA Cup, so it does hurt.

“Rochdale play a similar way to us, they get the ball down and play football. It just shows that the way we play can kick us on to the next division. It was nice to see Joe Thompson playing football and enjoying it again. He’s been through a lot in his career and he’s a nice guy off the pitch, but I thought we did well against him today."

Looking ahead to Tuesday night's Checkatrade Trophy home game against Mansfield, he said: "It would be a good to see a few more fans through the gates on Tuesday night. The lads totally understand why the fans are staying away but if we can get them behind us we can go and do well in this competition.

"We’re one of the most successful teams in this competition so we want to carry on that tradition. We go out to win every game we play and it will be no different. Whatever the manager decides to do with the team, we go out to win every game, whether it’s a five-a-side game in training or a Checkatrade Trophy game on a Tuesday night.

“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ll make sure we bounce back. We did that after the Newport game, we put some good performances in and we need to do that again now. Good teams don’t lose two on the bounce, we’ll be making sure we’re ready to go out and get the right result."

On the determination within the squad, he said: “There’s competition all over the squad, with Macaulay [Gillesphey] and now Kevin Wright pushing myself at left back. Patrick Brough has gone out to get game time but when he comes back here he’ll be pushing to get in the team. In every position there’s someone who can step in.

“Both Alex McQueen and Kevin have settled in really well. We obviously knew Alex and the new lads have taken to him really well. Kevin is mixing in with the dressing room and we’ll all make sure we get the best out of each other.”

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