Manager Keith Hill has been reflecting on the week, as his side prepare for Saturday’s League One fixture against Gillingham at the Crown Oil Arena...
“We had a bounce game on Tuesday, which was a great game for the players who hadn’t played too much football, and it was great to watch the young kids who were involved with some of the experienced players. It was another great advertisement for the future of the football club, so we’ve had a good week,” said Hill.
“We’ve just got to tidy up on one or two things during the week in training to make sure that we get it right with the small detail on Saturdays, because from a defensive point of view, it’s not reflecting how good a defender we’ve got at this football club. The amount of goals we’ve conceded through individual mistakes is a shame for the boys, because we’re better than the mistakes that we’re making.
“But the encouraging thing is that we’re creating opportunities. For us to score three goals away from home like we did last weekend and only get a point is minimal reward but if you consider the turn-around in opportunities that we’ve been making from the Middlesbrough game onwards, it has been quite a number, so we’ve go to retain those numbers regardless of which opposition we play against.”
He continued: “Defensively, it’s the small detail that’s letting us down and Saturday was a bad reflection on the preparation work that we do. We do a lot of preparation work in making sure that the players know their responsibilities, and this is what I was alluding to after the game when I was talking about the supporters not seeing the responsibility that we give down to the individual. These mistakes don’t reflect well on what was a good performance, because at three key moments we were very slack and didn’t take the responsibility that the players know falls to them individually. That’s a shame, because if I look at the whole game as a spectacle and a performance, then it was more than acceptable to get three points.
“But there’s not an awful lot lost - we’re in a positive position. I look at the football club and I can see it growing, and I look at the squad and I’m quietly optimistic, not just with the face value of the squad – the players we’ve recruited and retained, but also with the players that are coming through. That was reflected in the Checkatrade Trophy game and it’s being backed up in training and in the bounce games that we’re having, so I’m quietly confident for the future of the football club.”
He added: “I’ve seen really good things from this group of players. For me, the only disappointment for me is what we are seeing isn’t being reflected over 90 minutes. I want the perfect 90 minutes.
“It’s a bit different, but the last perfect 90 minutes I can remember was Charlton at home [on the final day of last season]. It was played out to perfection by the group of players.
“I’m not regressing, I’m using it as an example of how everything went to plan. Now, me as a manager, I have to make changes when things aren’t going to plan, like I did on Saturday, but I don’t want to be making those changes from 25 minutes onwards. I should be making them in the embers of the game where it’s necessary to change either to protect a win or go on and win a game.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow.