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Paul Hurst post Sheffield United

19 November 2016

Gaffer's thoughts after the 2-1 defeat at Sheffield United

Paul Hurst couldn’t hide his disappointment seeing his unbeaten start as Town boss come to end at Bramall Lane, after his side saw two players sent off during the first period at Bramall Lane.

The 2-0 lead given to Sheffield United after first half strikes from Billy Sharp and Stefan Scougall were compounded by red cards for Jim O’Brien and Abu Ogogo.

Despite the result, Hurst said that he could not fault his players.

“I am proud of them and they did put a shift in, but it’s hard when you’ve just lost a game, even in those circumstances.

“We managed to get a goal, a fantastic goal from Louis Dodds, I’ve been aware of him for a long time, but he’s shown it in training and when it matters today with a fantastic finish.”

The boss felt that the direction of the ball for the first offence - which saw O’Brien dismissed - implied that his player had won the ball.

“The penalty and the red card, which I’ve just watched back there, you can see the ball change direction clearly, no where near the direction where the United player would want to touch the ball.

“How can it be a deliberate foul? It looks like he’s clearly won the ball.”

The second red card of the afternoon also angered Hurst, who felt that Ogogo’s offence was nothing near being a dangerous challenge.

“He obviously catches him, but is there intent? Are we trying to take tackling out of the game? I don’t know.

Hurst went on: “I need to see it zoomed in, but looking at it, he couldn’t wait to get his red card out.”

Despite the cards, the boss does not believe that there is a disciplinary problem within the players and he won’t ask them to change, insisting that when you’re in the position that Town are, you have to show aggression in your play.

“We are second bottom, and we need people who are willing to fight.

“It doesn’t concern me. My first thought is that he’s slightly late. I’ve seen him fly into tackles and I don’t want to take that out of him.

“I’m not sure there’s a discipline problem and I’m not going to ask them to start shirking challenges.

The second half was an uphill task and Town fought gallantly to get their goal and keep United out at the other end and Hurst likened it to the sort of thing that you would see at the training ground during the week.
“It was a bit like a training ground exercise, one that you wouldn’t do for too long because it’s almost unkind on the nine players.

“At half time you know that the game as realistically gone.”

Hurst had a tricky decision to make in goal, as Mark Halstead performed brilliant in Jayson Leutwiler’s absence last week, and the boss is pleased to have such dilemmas when selecting his team.

On Halstead, he said: “He was excellent. Although it’s nice for keepers to make saves, he has been overworked at times. He can be proud of his performance.

“At the minute I feel like I’m in a good position, in having two keepers available to me, and whoever I left out it would have been extremely harsh.”

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