United boss John Sheridan gave us his reaction to the Tranmere home defeat shortly after full time on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s one of those days because I thought we played really well,” he said. “I thought we were excellent at times, and it’s a game we should have won. I’ll take it on the chin and I’ve just told the players in the dressing room not to be too down. It was a very good performance up until the penalty miss, but they were probably the better side after that.
“There was that 15-minute spell where they were on top at the end of the game, but that’s because we were chasing it a little bit. It’s a shame because a win would have put us in a healthy position. However, we take it, learn from it and we move on.”
On the penalty miss which changed the course of the afternoon, he told us: “We have to honest and say the penalty has knocked us back. If it goes in we go on to win the game, it’s as simple as that.
“That’s the way football goes sometimes, and we had some decent chances to have scored a few goals ourselves, but it wasn’t our day for that today. The fans were getting right behind the lads because they were enjoying the way we played.
“There’s no blame on anybody whatsoever. I’ve missed penalties myself, and what we are here is a team. We win together and we lose together. Up to the penalty we were really good, and when you look at it, like I say, that just knocked us back.
“They got the lift from it and that’s just the way it works in this game. I don’t want to dwell on it because I’ve already told the players they did well. We controlled the game, which was good to see, and it’s a shame that we didn’t go on to take the points.”
“Looking at the performance overall it was probably one of our best so far, so we can take a lot of good things from it,” he commented. “I don’t like losing in any way, people who know me know that, but if you ask the fans who were here they’ll tell you they saw a committed performance.
“Tranmere are a decent side who are hard to play against. They’re very organised, but I thought we looked a good team. We moved it, passed it and created chances, so we’re just a little bit disappointed that we didn’t get something.
“The disappointment isn’t the performance, it’s the fact that the three points would have put us in a great position. We’ll have a lot of ups and downs as we go through the next few months, but we can be encouraged by the fact we played well.
“It was probably the shortest post-match speech I’ve done. I’ve told the lads to get their heads up and not to think about it too much. I don’t think they’ll go home and cry themselves to sleep about it.
“When they stop and really think about it they know they played well. We can’t win every game, but that type of performance will win games going forward, that’s what we have to focus on.”
“The fact is that we’ve played worse than that and won this season, so there’s no need for me to harp on,” he said. “You’re up and down at this level and you have to accept we’re not going to win every game. We played to a standard which I enjoyed watching.
“We had some good chances and opportunities in good areas but there were little things which happened which meant we didn’t take them. We need people doing different things in key areas, rather than all doing the same thing, but we aren’t Premier League players so we’re going to get that.
“We should have done better with the chances we created. You can’t score them all but the important thing is that we keep creating them. Like I keep saying, we score the penalty and it’s a totally different game.
“We didn’t and that’s the way football kicks you in the teeth sometimes. Likewise if Gary Liddle had scored at the end of that move it would have been a great goal. We passed it really well, there was great movement, and good awareness from Adam [Campbell] to put him through.
“It would have been a well-deserved lead for us because we looked very comfortable. I think the miss knocked the supporters and everybody back and I don’t feel we recovered. Credit to Tranmere because they finished the game well.
“It’s gone now, there’s not a lot I can do about it. The best way to pick the players up is to tell them how well they did, because they gave us a good performance for the majority of that game.”
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