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Interviews

Pre-Blackpool | Matt Taylor

16 November 2023

Interviews

Pre-Blackpool | Matt Taylor

16 November 2023

Head coach Matt Taylor met with the press ahead of our League One clash at Blackpool.

Town head to Bloomfield Road on the back of a run that has seen us win three of our last four games - scoring nine goals in the process.

One of those victories was against Walsall in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday - a match that saw  16-year-old Simba Nyamwanza become the youngest player in the club's history.

Jude Collins, Nana Owusu, Declan Hutchings, Harvey Watts and Jack Loughran - who are all under-18s - also played and impressed.

Speaking to the assembled media, Matt discussed a whole host of topics, including our form over the last four games, our results away from home and the importance of integrating academy players into the first team.

On scoring nine goals in our last four games: 

“I think it’s the players becoming more confident and taking their chances. 

“I’ve spoken a lot about chance creation but not taking those chances. 

“But the positive thing at the moment is that we have put the ball in the back of the net more often and it’s no coincidence that coincides with winning games. 

“The players need to continue doing that. It was nice to see Daniel (Udoh) and Ryan (Bowman) score on Tuesday night. 

“We are going to need that ruthless, cutting edge, going into the Blackpool game.” 

On both strikers scoring against Walsall: 

“It’s what they get paid to do. I think it’s what they enjoy the most. 

“I know it’s what our strikers practice every single day. 

“Ryan has had a bit of a difficult time, he has been in and out of the team. 

“But what I will commend him on is his attitude, he has been exceptionally professional. 

“The thing for strikers is that everything can change really quickly.

"You get one goal and that can snowball into two and three and so forth. 

“We are in a fortunate position that both our strikers that we have available for the next game scored on Tuesday night so confidence for them should be high.” 

On recent defensive errors: 

“What you can’t do is give teams a head start. That is what we have done in the last two home games. 

“We have shown fantastic character and resilience to come back in those games and go on to win those games. 

“But I spoke to the players after the game on Tuesday and told them it can’t become a habit. 

“Those errors at the moment are costing us goals but not costing us results. 

“We have just got to make sure that concentration levels are as high as they possibly can be, especially going into what will be a really difficult game on Saturday.” 

On the academy players who featured on Tuesday: 

“They have been up here today, they trained today. 

“We did a session with 12/13 academy players which is great. 

“It's really important for us to keep an eye on them. 

“I feel it’s really important we know as much as we can about our youth team players. 

“And that’s not just the under-18s. That’s the under-16s, the under-15s, because we know how important they are to us. 

“Shrewsbury have got a history of producing players. We want to continue doing that. 

“Seeing so many academy players involved – and I must commend them on their attitude and their performance on Tuesday because both were excellent – the next thing for them now is to earn their professional contracts and to continue performing well. 

“The first team staff will definitely go and watch their games – like we have done all season. 

“That unity between the academy and first-team is really important to me. 

“Because we don’t have a team that bridges that gap, i.e. an under-21s or under-23s, it’s important for young players to understand what it entails to be a footballer. 

“At times, they can focus on the wrong things. But our message is very clear here. First and foremost you have to work hard – as simple as that sounds. 

“It’s important for the young players to see the seniors and just how they do it and the examples they set. 

“Where we are fortunate here is that we have got some really good senior players here who every day approach training with the correct attitude. 

“They are undoubtedly talented, it’s now a case of trying to help them to understand that it’s the hard work that will get them to where they want to go.” 

On Blackpool: 

“It will be a difficult game. They are a good team at home. They have a very clear philosophy of how they want to play. 

“They have got good options at the top of the pitch. They are a team that will be high on confidence. 

“I feel it’s a game that – if we approach it in the correct manner – which I know we will, then it’s one we can be full of confidence going into. 

“I look at our last result, it was a really positive one against Reading. 

“The thing we need to do, regardless of the opposition, is be more consistent in our performances away from home. 

“At home, I think I can argue that that’s one thing we have done. 

“Now it’s about away from home. We need to take that belief that we have got at home into the fixture at Bloomfield Road. 

“We know it’s going to be a difficult game. It’s a long way for our supporters to go and follow us but I know they will be there. 

“And it’s of vital importance to me that our players go out, put in a performance and try and pick up a positive result.” 

On finding consistency away from home: 

“I was a player for 22 years and I don’t know if I found the answer to that while I was playing. 

“We seem to have a mindset at home where it doesn’t matter if we concede a goal and we have a real confidence at home, but we need to find more of that away. 

“If you’re asking me to put my finger on that I think it just boils down to understanding that we are a good team.

"Even if the worst happens and we concede a goal, we must continue believing in ourselves, believing in what the process is, put that into play and go out there and perform. 

“If you play home or away, it shouldn’t have a positive or a negative impact.

"We’ve already won away from home this season so I’m not asking the players to do anything they haven’t already done, and hopefully that continues on Saturday.” 

On coming from behind in games: 

“I think what it shows more than anything is that there is a togetherness in the team, a togetherness in the squad and I think that also runs deeper than that in terms of the club. 

“Look, we’ve come back in games and that’s wonderful, but I’d rather we didn’t go behind. 

“If you go behind to a wonderful goal that you can’t do anything about then you don’t mind.

"What we have to do is make sure we stop gifting goals to the opposition, especially in the game on Saturday because I feel if we approach it correctly and carry out the game plan we’ve got a good chance of getting a positive result.” 

On how Shrewsbury can hurt Blackpool: 

“I’m probably not going to answer that question because I'd be giving too much of the game away in terms of what we’re going to do. 

“We know that we’ve got areas of the pitch in which we can exploit while also knowing that at the other end, we need to be really resilient because they’ve got players that can really hurt people.”  

On over 700 fans travelling to support us: 

“That should make the hairs on the back of the players’ necks stand up when they walk out on Saturday because to see our loyal supporters coming all the way to Blackpool to support them and spending their hard-earned money.

"We know it’s not cheap to watch football nowadays, it’s not cheap to travel, we understand that – it should make the players feel a bit taller, a bit more confident. 

“Our supporters are travelling away because they’re an expectation on our players to get a good result.” 

On what he’s learnt since he’s been at Shrewsbury: 

“Every day is a learning day. I think that if everything in life is always easy and you don’t go through any tough times then you don’t build up resilience. 

“The thing for me is to keep building on that personal journey along with the staff, but it also includes the players so it’s imperative that they learn on a daily basis too. 

“Are we where we want to be right now? No, but I would hasten to add that you could ask most managers and head coaches up and down the country and they would argue that they’re not where they want to be. 

“It’s a process, it takes time, and the most important thing for me is to keep learning. 

“The one thing I will say to you is that whilst we’re extremely professional, it’s important you come to work with a smile on your face every day. 

“We’re going to spend 10-11 months every season with each other, and you can’t come into work every single day and not laugh, not smile. 

“We do have a very professional group here and we work incredibly hard as a group but there has to be a point where we do have a laugh with each other. 

On if there are any fresh injury concerns: 

“As of yet no. Morgan Feeney has been back on the grass for three or four days which is really positive but there aren’t any new injuries.” 

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