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Mike Jackson Post Sheffield United

8 February 2014

Jacko's thoughts after the defeat away to Sheffield United

Town travelled to Sheffield United looking to build on the recent good performances against Swindon Town and Brentford.  In the end that wasn't the case as Town didn't keep that recent level of performance up.

It wasn't helped by being two goals to nil down with just over 15 minutes of the clock.  After that Town showed a lot more fight but didn't take the good chances they had to get back into the game.

After the game caretaker manager Mike Jackson spoke to the press to give him thoughts on the game:”I thought we had a lot of the ball in both the first and second half but we didn't do a lot with it especially in the final third.

“I wanted us to play a lot quicker and we've worked all week on moving the ball around quickly but we didn't do that.

“Sheffield were getting a lot of men behind the ball and that was making us shuffle it sideways and backwards with no penetration and that makes it easy for them.

“I'm disappointed as we had a lot of the ball but didn't do anything with it, we've had some good chances opportunities in the first half when the ball went into their box but we didn't do enough to get something from the game.”

Compared to recent games today's performance seemed to be a little flat and Jacko thought that his team failed to be as positive as he had wanted him to:”What we've done recently is be more positive going forward with the ball but what Sheffield have done today dropped behind the ball and no team has done that against us in the last two games.

“I said to the players before the game that I wanted the ball to go quickly into the front men, into the wide men and to be more positive.  I said the same at half-time but we are still rolling it out through the back and that suits Sheffield down to the ground.

“I don't think we were flat in the terms of energy but in the terms of tempo and the way we passed the ball.”

Town made it an uphill task for themselves by being two goals down with just over 15 minutes of the game gone.  Jacko was clear that he felt that both goals had been poor ones to concede:”They were poor goals, we got caught down the side with a runner for the first one, the lads come round the back of the post and then slotted it in.

“The second one is just a scruffy shot that should have been saved.

“They've scored a lot of goals with their opposite wide man coming in from crosses, we've worked on it, looked at it but they haven't done it.

“I trust myself in my judgement and preparation for games, it's done for a reason and they've got to follow what we tell them.

“But today's game has now gone, we've got to get our heads on for the Port Vale game and get the points.

“I've told them in the changing room that I still believe in them and believe they can do it, I believe they can play Port Vale and get 3 points.”

The result sees Town drop to second bottom of the Sky Bet League 1 table.  It's a big job to turn things round but Jacko believes there is enough fight in the squad to turn things around:”We know we've got a job on, anyone who doesn't believe that must have a hole in their head.  

“The boys have to realise in these games coming up that's it about rolling their sleeves up and battling for everything as no one is going to give us anything.

“I think we need 23 or 24 points to give us a chance, not many clubs go down with 50 points but we've got to get those points.”

Town started the game with Joseph Mills coming in for Bahrudin Atajic and Jacko was asked if with hindsight he would have started with a different line-up:”If I'd had some more players available then I might have gone with a different stating line-up but with what we had available I felt I made the right decisions.

“I didn't think Atajic had the physicality or fitness to start the game against the way Sheffield play.

“I had to change it and put Jon Taylor just off the front as their centre-backs were stepping out but I don't think that was the problem.

“ Our big problem today was that we didn't move the ball quickly enough and we gave away too goals.”

There was a great chance for Town to grab a goal back when Paul Parry put Jon Taylor in on goal.  In the end Jon put his shot wide of the mark but it's not something the caretaker manager will dwell on:”He knows he should have scored but I'm not going to lambaste him about it.

“I'm not going to have a go at a player if they try something, if they miss a chance they know they've missed it.

“It's not worth picking today apart because the only thing important is the next game and getting the 3 points.”

Loanee Nathaniel Mendez-Laing was missing from the squad and Jacko revealed that he has tweaked his hamstring in last weeks draw against Brentford:”He tweaked his hamstring last week when he came on but hopefully he'll be back in full training next week.

“The thing with hamstrings and heavy pitches is that the two don't go together so we'll monitor things and hope we can get him back fit and available for selection.”

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