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INTERVIEW: The lads must take confidence from it

Gav Skelton on much improved performances

21 October 2021

Tuesday night saw the Blues burst into the game at Newport with an early goal and the team visibly grew in confidence as they took control of much of the 90 minutes.

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Speaking about the importance of that Joe Riley goal – officially timed at 38 seconds – Gav Skelton said: “I think it massively took a weight off the shoulders.

“I think you saw that, when we scored, no matter what you say about it not affecting us - like strikers when they’re not scoring, it’s bound to be on your mind. I’m conscious of it.

“Hopefully we can use the confidence from scoring both goals, and from the type of overall performance, and we can kick forwards.

“I’d love to say we’d worked on letting them have kick off and us starting like that, but you could see the confidence we had once it had happened.”

“We started on the front-foot, we spoke about it before the game, and the lads responded to what we talked about,” he continued. “We didn’t expect to score that quickly, or with that quality, and it was great for Joe to be back in the team and playing the way he did.

“It’s great to score that early, you’ll take a goal at any time, and I thought apart from a bit of a wobble in the middle of the first half that we controlled the game in large periods.

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22 October 2021

“The lads must take confidence from it, that’s the key thing. They were disappointed they didn’t win it, but they enjoyed the way they played. Getting the goals meant a lot, don’t forget we hadn’t scored for a few games, and that naturally plays on everyone’s minds.

“It’s a talking point, so hopefully they take confidence from the fact that as well as the goals we had a number of shots on target and we created some good chances. From that we got good individual performances and a good team performance. We have to use it as a springboard to take into Saturday.”

The passages of play and a return to a more controlled approach style has also been a feature of the last two games.

“I’ve told the players to take more responsibility for what they’re doing,” he explained. “I’ve told them not to be too rigid, and to feel free within a framework to do it.

“We talked about the fact that we can hide behind anything in terms of our situation, but they’re on the pitch and they’re the people who have to take responsibility when they’re out there.

“They’re good footballers, professional footballers should know how to play football, you can help and educate them but that’s their job and it’s what they want to do. After all of the preparation has been done they have to take responsibility with how they do things.”

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“Maybe there’s been a bit of nervousness because of the run we were on,” he added. “We’ll perhaps reflect on that at another time, but the pitch was fantastic on Tuesday and that encouraged that style of play.

“The players grew in confidence the more the game went on, we have some good footballers here, and they did what we’d worked on in training. We always try to play football, and if we take bits from what we did last week and on Tuesday into what is a big game on Saturday then I’m sure we’ll see more of the same.

“We’ve reviewed what we did against Newport and we’ll show the lads the positives that came out of the game. Ultimately we wanted to win, but in terms of the way we played, along with getting a point at a difficult venue where we don’t usually get much, looking at our history, it’s really pleasing.

“Hopefully, being human beings, they should have felt the disappointment of not winning, but also that feel-good of how we played and the opportunities we created, scoring two goals, you naturally should feel that.

“At our team meeting we’ll show them good stuff, to show what a good team and players they can be, and hopefully they’ll feed off that. The supporters, to have over 100 down there on a Tuesday night, fantastic, I know the players fed off their energy and positivity.

“Even when we went behind they were behind us, and the lads benefited from that. Take that positivity and momentum into Saturday, where we need to start well and get people behind us, and we know the players can grow in confidence, and then you’ll hopefully see a different team.”

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