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Interviews

MANAGER: We deserved something

Paul Simpson on the Barnsley defeat

17 January 2024

Interviews

MANAGER: We deserved something

Paul Simpson on the Barnsley defeat

17 January 2024

We spoke to manager Paul Simpson after the defeat at Barnsley.

“I think it was really cruel tonight,” he said. “You know me, when I think we haven’t done enough to get a result I’ll say it, but tonight we have done enough.

“I’m going to avoid talking about an official because that penalty decision was an embarrassing decision, absolutely embarrassing. I think there’s been so many things tonight that he hasn’t given in our favour. I think the less I say about it the better.

“We deserved something out of that game tonight. People can say we didn’t finish our chances again, and that’s a big part of it because in the first 13 minutes we had four incredible chances. One of those has to go in.

“We had a plan of how we wanted to try and press them which was very similar to Oxford at the weekend. I thought we won the ball well in good areas and had a good shape about us. The chances that Butts has had first half, you have to take one of them, it’s as simple as that. He’s done really well to get them, and I thought his header was an outstanding header that hit the post.

“We’re massively disappointed but the pleasing thing is, and the thing I’ve said to them in the dressing room, is that there’s been times where we’ve deserved nothing out of games, but tonight can give us a lot of belief and confidence.

“The challenge now is to do that every game. We can’t just do that at places like Barnsley because they’re up the top of the table, that’s the base. It hasn’t been the base for some games and that’s a choice that players have to make.

“I’m really pleased with what they’ve done tonight but I’m absolutely gutted for them that we haven’t got the rewards that we probably deserved.”

“We forced them into making mistakes and that was the plan,” he continued. “You have to force teams into mistakes, especially in the situation we’re in where we’re scrapping for our lives. I thought we pressed them really well and recovered back into a good shape when we needed to. I thought Alfie, Luke and Butts all did well to win it high.

“We’ve got nothing out of it but it’s a game I think we did deserve something out of. The honest truth is that hasn’t been the truth for all of the season so far.

On the penalty decision which brought the winning goal, he said: “It is really harsh. I’ve just looked back at it there. The annoying thing is, I kept talking to the fourth official and saying that the ref was going to cost us tonight with the decisions he was making. The fourth official kept saying ‘I agree with you Paul’, then that happens.

“Jordan Gibson has actually got his foot on the ball and the lad has gone down. It doesn’t look like a penalty to me, and I hope that the assessor who was here tonight takes the right sort of action against that. I saw it live and I’ve seen it back on the video and I still can’t believe he’s made that decision.”

“We had some really good opportunities on transitions today and we haven’t had the quality to make that final pass,” he continued. “You look at their first goal, they won it back, played a brilliant pass into Devante Cole who took a great first touch and drilled it across the goal.

“We’ve been in areas to do that but we haven’t been able to, and that’s the difference. They’re able to find that pass with the quality they have when it really matters. We’ve got players with the ability to do it, but we’re not finding that pass or executing it properly.

“That’s where the first goal comes from, we’re on a transition and we could have dealt with it better. Even the second goal, I think we probably had three opportunities to clear the ball properly. We gave it away cheaply and allow them to keep the momentum. We’ve had chances to clear our lines, but it still doesn’t take away the fact that it was an absolutely disgusting decision from the official.”

Jack Armer and Paul Huntington came into the starting line-up, and the manager explained those changes: “Corey and Robbo were fine but I felt as though I wanted some energy in wing back areas. I wasn’t in a position to change Jack Ellis otherwise I would have changed him as well. That’s why Fin was on the bench, because I didn’t think Jack would be able to complete the 90 minutes.

“I wanted to introduce Sean Grehan into the squad. He’s trained really well and I wanted to get him in. Unfortunately for Robbo and Corey, that meant they both missed out tonight. Robbo has been excellent for us but he was left out just to get fresh legs in. It’s a case of everybody sticking with it and keep believing tat we can get results to get us out of trouble.

“It was good to get Fin back onto the pitch. I thought he’d have had to come on earlier if I’m honest. Jack was starting to tighten up a little bit and hopefully with an extra week of training this week, Fin will be ready to come back in.”


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