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Interviews

Post Cambridge | Matt Taylor

14 October 2023

Interviews

Post Cambridge | Matt Taylor

14 October 2023

Boss Matt Taylor met with the media after Shrewsbury gained a point on the road following a 1-1 draw at Cambridge.

A combination of injuries and international call-ups meant Town had seven first-team players unavailable for the trip to the Abbey Stadium.

Max Mata (New Zealand) and Nohan Kenneh (Liberia) were both away with their national sides with George Nurse, Elliot Thorpe, Jordan Shipley, Ryan Finnigan and Morgan Feeney all in the treatment room.

In what had overall been an even game, we fell behind in the 69th minute when some really poor defending allowed Michael Morrison to carry the ball into the box and find the bottom corner.

But Town dug deep and got the point they deserved when Taylor Perry fired in late on.

Speaking to the assembled media, Matt discussed the game and the performance of Jason Sraha who made his first league start for the club.

And the boss also gave his thoughts on Aaron Pierre who we re-signed earlier today on a short-term deal.

On the performance: 

“I’m pleased that for the second game in a row, we have scored a goal. 

“We made a slight tweak with Taylor Perry popping into an area where we feel he can affect the game. 

“He played in a slightly different position today for the majority of the game – as a number four to give us some real control. 

“Am I pleased with a point? I’m pleased that we scored a goal so late in the game. I’m pleased that the players showed a togetherness to come back into a game where I felt a point was a fair result. 

“But I’m still disappointed because of the goal we conceded. It is outrageous defending to be polite. 

“Look, there is growth in the group. When I look at the last three performances, I can see we are getting better. 

“I felt we were better on the ball today. In those real moments when we were being pressed we moved the ball well. 

“We took risks. We played out. We stood on the ball when we needed to. I felt we had good control. 

“They hit the crossbar in the first half but other than that I don’t think we were hugely threatened. 

“We have had opportunities to score and we didn’t. At nil-nil, I was slightly disappointed at half-time because I felt we had good enough opportunities – especially from set-plays. 

“Whether that was a long throw or a ball into the box (we looked dangerous.) 

“We’ve had to make changes today because of internationals and because of injuries. 

“The players that have come in today have played well and performed well and I’m pleased for the group that today they’ve come back into a game and looked really strong in the last five or six minutes.”  

On Jason Sraha’s first league start: 

“I’ve just spoken to Jason in the dressing room in front of the players. 

“You never know when that opportunity is going to come.  

“Jason has been really patient. His opportunity has arisen today because of his performance last weekend. 

“I feel he has taken that today. But that now has to be, for Jason, the standard he sets himself every week. 

“I thought he was commanding in the air. I like the fact we had balance on the left-hand side of the pitch with Brandon (Fleming), Mal Benning) and Jason. 

“We played some good football today. I felt we took risks in the right areas. 

“And that moment that I keep talking about, when we are defending our box from wide crosses, from box crosses, I felt we were good today. 

“There was just that one error where their centre-back runs through all of our players and passes the ball into the back of the net. 

“But we responded really well to that. It was excellent from Taylor Perry to get down the line and get a cross in. 

“Chey (Dunkley) keeps it alive and Taylor doesn’t just stand and rest on his laurels. He followed it in and got his reward with his second goal of the season. 

“Things, I believe, are getting better. I think a month ago we probably wouldn’t have got a point. That is me being brutally honest with my assessment of the group. 

“But what they showed today was a huge togetherness to get a point and I’m pleased because if we had left here having lost it would have been a travesty. 

“We deserved at least a point out of that game today.” 

On Taylor Perry being a doubt for the game: 

“It was touch and go earlier in the week. But I think what you see with Taylor is a player who gives 100 percent every time he is on the pitch. 

“I thought he controlled the game really well as a number four. 

“Then when he went into the number 10 role when we took Tom (Bayliss) off, he popped up with a goal. 

“What we want is complete midfielders at the football club – whether that is playing as an eight or playing as a four, six or 10. 

“Taylor is most definitely that. This is a big year for him. It’s his third season at this level. He now needs to produce regularly. 

“He has been a consistent performer for us this season, all be it his numbers aren’t where he wants them to be. 

“But he took his big moment today well. He was calm and what I liked was that we didn’t then sit back – the players wanted to go forward and wanted to try and get that winning goal and we very nearly did. 

“I’ve stood many times in front of you and bemoaned that we haven’t taken the opportunities we’ve created. 

“Today we took the big one and that was the one that mattered.” 

On seven absentees from the squad: 

“We tried to find a way during the week – as a group of staff – to play within our structure, to play the way we want to whether that be in possession or out of possession. 

“We wanted to put players in possessions where we feel they are comfortable receiving the ball and in areas where we feel we can get up the pitch. 

“Brandon (Fleming) has never played central midfield in his life. He has never played as an eight but I thought he did really well today. 

“He was combative, he gives you everything you ask. He had a calmness when he was on the ball to make decisions, he played forwards. 

“Mal (Benning) got his first start in a few weeks. He performed well. 

“We made some changes in the game with Brandon moving back out onto the left. 

“Ryan Bowman came off the bench and made a real impact. I felt today he looked physically strong. 

“We are most definitely pushing the limits of the players that we have available at the moment and we will continue to do that. 

“Then as and when we start to get players back from injury and the two boys return from international duty – it will make my job really difficult because I’ve got to pick a team that can try and get a result against a Derby team that I’m sure will want to come to our stadium and get three points.” 

On the return of Aaron Pierre: 

“I don’t think it’s difficult for Aaron to fit in because he knows the football club and I know him having played with him. 

“I know what type of man he is. I know what his morals are. I know what his values are. 

“Will it take him time to get up to speed? Yes. 

“Look if we didn’t have the injuries we have got together with the players that are away – he probably wouldn’t have been in the squad today. 

“But he was. He has been training with us for nearly two weeks. 

“Does he need to get fitter? Yes, 100 percent and he will do. 

“And I’m sure when Aaron gets his opportunity he will be desperate to take it. 

“As it goes, he has slotted into the squad extremely well and we are pleased to have him here. 

“But it will take him a bit of time to get to the level he needs to be at to be in real contention for a position in the team.”

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