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Gaffer at the Weekend

Some weekend thoughts from the boss.

18 April 2021

Steve Evans delivers his usual Sunday round-up.

Q: Yesterday was a difficult one to take after a strong 70+ minutes. As a collective it must have been very frustrating when, at 0-2, we had carried out the game plan and looked comfortable?
A1: We were as comfortable in the game when we scored the second goal as we have been in any match this season.
Two goals ahead and it should have been more with the chances created, but a game is never won at that stage.
All three goals Oxford score are down to basic individual errors, no great team play, only errors.
The fact is their first goal is offside but those things happen.
A costly defeat but basic errors of that magnitude get punished, and we did!
Q: For the younger ones in the group, and perhaps those who have not been involved in a play-off chase before, how important a lesson would yesterday have been?
A2: We all learn lessons in this game every day, young and old.
We as a management team learn more about individuals who can play at the elite end of this league.
We had 11 outstanding performances for 73 minutes and eight for 90 + minutes and that is the reality of it this morning!
Q: Our two goals were well taken and, in fairness, we could have been three/four up before the hour?
A3: As I said we scored two goals, in reality at least four would have been fair.
As can happen and is football, the best team by far lost and the other one grabbed the points.
Credit to the Oxford lads, they offered kind words at the end of the game, I wish them all the very best.
Q: It wasn't to be. Sadly it looks like the play-offs is out of reach now. What goals do you set for the remaining games?
A4: We focus only on Peterborough United.
Our play-off aspirations have gone but we will fight until the very end, there can be no other way.
Q: Peterborough is next on Tuesday night. You were at their game Friday. They look destined for promotion. Will you be asking for a repeat of the first 70mins on Sat?
A5: Peterborough are a side built on big money. Two of their strikers cost £2.5M between them so that alone demonstrates their investment in the team.
Our plan will be different to the Oxford game, Peterborough are a far superior team and present you deeper problems and from multiple areas.
Q: You hinted you will make changes. Dom Samuel, Rob McKenzie and Tom O'Connor are all options potentially?
A6: I will pick my team after I watch us train over the next day or so.
Changes are likely, I need to trust who I select to match runners and do their jobs for the full game and not in part!
Q: Will we see Callum Slattery before the end of the season? And James Morton has returned to Bristol City?
A7: We will see neither of those lads. Callum will be fit in the last week or so of the season so it’s best he focuses on next season.
James has indeed gone back to Bristol City. He wasn’t ready for League 1 but is a really good player and I have no doubt next season the kid will be.
Q: Good to see Gerald Sithole involved at the Kassam. Are you intending to try one or two of the youth lads between now and May 9th?
A8: We are very limited squad numbers wise and I certainly have hopes that a couple of the youngsters will get a chance.
However, we must not forget we will be trying to win every game we play and they must deserve a place in the team.
Today we are down, very down, but tomorrow we get back up and fight, the alternative is not an option!

Yesterday, as a group, we did not deserve what happened but failure to track runners, compete and man mark nominated opposition players comes at a severe cost!

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