United boss John Sheridan gave us his reaction to the Blackburn Rovers Carabao Cup game shortly after full time on Tuesday night.
Speaking about what was an encouraging performance, despite the end result, he said: “The score line doesn’t lie, but it’s a game I can take a lot of positives from.
“I thought we were excellent going forward and it could easily have been 5-4. I don’t think 5-1 is a fair result for the lads, but we take it on the chin and we move on.
“I’ve just been speaking to Tony Mowbray and he spoke about the fact the mistakes we made were punished by the quality they have in their side. We want to avoid conceding poor goals, and we could have avoided a couple of them because some of the situations we found ourselves in were down to us.
“Basic decision making was all wrong in some cases and they punished us for it. The keeper dropped one and young Regan Slater had a misplaced pass, which made those two poor goals on our part.
“This is what happens. When you’re playing in our league you can get away with things, but they have good players who tend to take the chances they get. We know we need to get the sloppy goals out of our game. They did score some quality goals but, like I say, I have to take the good things out of the game.”
“The players have been given exactly the same message,” he continued. “There were times when I thought we looked a really good team.
“I knew they’d be good on the ball. They pass it and keep it moving all the time and they have good distances between each player on the pitch.
“When they were taking care of the ball they made it hard for us. Their goals were good, clinical finishes and that’s why those lads are playing at that level.”
Looking at the positives to be taken from the game, he said: “I liked the effort and endeavour from the players and the supporters obviously felt the same way because they clapped the lads off the pitch at the end of the game.
“The lads dug in and I think the fans appreciated the way we played. They know we’ve been beaten but they also know we played a positive part in a good game. That’s because we had a right go, but unfortunately it just wasn’t to be. It’s gone now, but I would have loved to have got a result and gone into the next round.
“It’s the same as I said the other day, if we’re looking at playing teams at our level in our division in that same way, then it will win us a lot of games. I think we were excellent going forward so it’s hard to take a result like this when that’s been the case.
“People have run their socks off and they kept going. That’s all you ever ask for. You’ve got to take the good chances that come your way, but I know if we keep creating things in this way the goals will come.
“The one Hallam [Hope] scored for us was superb. He’s one of our best players and he’s started the season really well. He’s scored two excellent goals now and he’s a big player who is really important for us.”
Having used the game as an opportunity to look at some other players within the team framework, he said: “I thought Adam Campbell did well, Macaulay Gillesphey got some good minutes and I’ve probably thrown Anthony Gerrard in a bit too soon.
“The reason for that is that the only real way to get him fit and sharp will be for him to be playing games. He was always only getting 45 minutes because he’s not match fit yet, but the quickest way he’ll get that is by being involved.
“It was probably in at the deep end a bit earlier than I wanted but it won’t do him any harm. He has a bit of catching up to do but we’re trying to get him where we want him to be quite quickly. It isn’t the biggest squad and that’s why we need everybody available.”
And on Mike Jones, who picked up a hamstring injury at the weekend, he said: “He’ll be out for a month or five weeks. If we can get another body in, then I’ll be doing just that.
“I’ll be trying to do that this week, next week, and I’ve spoken to people because I definitely think we need to make that happen.”
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