Vice-captain Aaron Hayden acknowledged that there were positives to take from the Tuesday night cup tie with Fleetwood, but he also insisted that losing games was not going to be accepted by any of the players within the Carlisle United dressing room.
“It was a really frustrating result,” he told us. “I thought first half we were excellent and we matched them up quite well.
“We got our nose in front from a set piece, which was pleasing, as we’d worked on that through the week. It’s just game management. Before half time we’ve got to sweep that up and tighten up that game management, slow it down.
“They got their tails up just before half time. We need to take control of the game a bit more, try and get in at one goal up, then psychologically it’s a different game in the second half.”
Speaking more about the impact of conceding just before the break, he said: “It’s more psychological for them, it gets their tails up. We still have to do our bit and react, which we didn’t do on Tuesday.
“We have to focus more in the first 10 minutes of the second half, we’ve conceded a set piece, that header, which was really soft, really disappointed with that goal. We’d worked so hard to get in front and the next minute it’s 2-1. There are things we’ve got to learn from going forward.
“That headed goal at the back post, we’re all disappointed with that. It’s football, you’ve got to be strong and deal with that side of it. You can’t really complain about people getting blocked off, you’ve just got to defend it properly.
“The lads put their hands up and that’s good because going forward, we’ll put it right, simple as that.”
Having lost the game we wondered how long it would take for the frustration to disappear and for the players to start to focus on the many positives from the night.
“We can’t sweep it under the carpet,” he insisted. “We’ve got to analyse, take the positives and negatives, and then move on to Saturday really quickly. We want to win there, get a little cup run going.
“The games are coming thick and fast and this is what we want. It’s getting ready for the league campaign, which is our bread and butter. It’s the first time I’ve touched the turf at Brunton Park in the last six months, really good to get back out on it.
“It was a bit weird, last time I was here there were fans, but overall to play a competitive match with the conditions we’ve had in the last six months is really good and pleasing, despite the result. We have to analyse, but there are a lot of positives to take forward.”
One of those positives was a first goal for the club for forward Gime Touré.
“He’s come in, he doesn’t speak great English, but he’s a great lad to have around,” he commented. “He seems to get goals, he’s played three games and scored two, that’s quite good going.
“When he gets fitter he’s going to be quite scary. He had a one-on-one where he should have scored, and Gav Reilly had one where he should have buried it as well. Those little chances, we get ruthless and take them, the game is totally different.
“I didn’t even really see what happened with Gime’s red card. I thought it was going to be yellow, but apparently it’s a natural reaction where he’s kicked out, the lad’s gone head over heels, the ref’s seen that and given a red.
“It’s a bit dubious but it’s just for the Trophy, we need Gime back next week, he’s a great asset for us.”
When challenged about how he was settling into his new role as the club’s vice-captain, he said: “Everyone’s still gelling, but with this season, as I said in the changing room, I don’t want anyone saying ‘well done’ when we lose.
“It’s not something we’re going to accept. Yes, take the positives from it, there’s a lot to build in, but it’s never going to be acceptable to lose a game of football, not if we want to be successful this season.
“We’ve a lot of gelling to do, we’ve had a few injuries which is not ideal, but we’ve got strength in depth in the squad where people can come in and cover and do the job.
“It’s great to get this game in before the actual league campaign starts. That cohesion’s still building, I think people saw it in the first half, some nice bits of play down both sides, Gime getting in.
“It’s not panic stations. A few mistakes to clear up, which is good – we don’t want to go into the season too confident and make mistakes because we think we’re there.
“Having another game so quickly is what it’s all about in football. You dust yourself off, go again, and the only way to put it right is to go and get a win against Oldham. I think if we approach Saturday the same way we did tonight, and cut out the little errors, we won’t come out of that game losing.”
And his final word was on football without fans.
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t weird,” he commented. “The fans do make a massive impact and we can’t wait to get them back in as soon as possible.
“When you hear the fans beating the drum and getting us going … we really need them back asap.”
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