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Interviews

Post Wigan | Matt Taylor

28 October 2023

Interviews

Post Wigan | Matt Taylor

28 October 2023

Matt Taylor met with the press after today's game at Wigan.

Salop fell to a 2-0 defeat at the DW Stadium - a game in which captain Chey Dunkley received his marching orders in the fourth minute for bringing down Thelo Aasgaard.

With 10 men, Town defended resolutely and played some good football at times.

But goals from former Salop loanees Stephen Humphrys and Callum Lang saw the Latics earn all three points.

Speaking to the assembled media, Matt expressed his pride at how his team performed with 10 men.

The boss also gave his overall thoughts on the game and gave an injury update on Brandon Fleming and Kieran Phillips.

On the game:

"It was a very difficult afternoon. But to give you a bit of context, when you have your captain sent off four minutes into the game away from home - and quite rightly sent off - it's a bad decision from Chey.

"He gets himself in a position where he can't affect the ball going through and we're down to 10 men after four minutes. 

"We knew there would be a lot of suffering in that game, and there was, but what I will say is for large parts I thought we were excellent, especially down to 10 men.

"The players moved the ball really well and you always have to understand that when you play with 10 men, you have to, you need to, and you will give space away because you can't cover the whole pitch.

"Therefore, they had opportunities for crosses. We haven't stopped crosses well enough today in one-v-one situations but with the ball, I'm really pleased.

"We varied our play today, we rested in possession - which you have to do when you're down to 10 men.

"But on the whole, I'm really disappointed because I firmly believed today was an opportunity for us to get some points.

"But we didn't get the chance to do that because we go down to 10 men so early on in the game."

On the positive moments in the game:

"I take huge encouragement from it and I hope the players do as well.

"But while we're all extremely disappointed that we haven't taken anything from the game, the players were progressive today with the ball, we trusted each other more, we played out from the back, we brought Marko (Marosi) into it as well because we had to - we needed him to be that third centre-halve at times. 

"We've got to build on it. I've spoken to the players in there and I fancy us 11-v-11 but obviously, it wasn't to be.

"It's always difficult regardless of if you're at home or you're away when you have a player sent off and you're down numerically with 95 minutes to go.

"It's always going to be difficult wherever you go and they've got good attacking players.

"I felt we restricted them playing through the middle, Marko made one or two good saves and the goals, while every goal is avoidable and it's always disappointing to concede, but we've had opportunities and spells where we had chances to put the ball in the back of the net.

"You've always got to be aware that when you're down to ten and while you want to commit bodies forward, there has to always be an eye on being vulnerable to the counter-attack.

"Listen, the players, I can't fault their effort, their desire and determination. The quality was good at times but we're still stood here with zero points.

"Would this be a different conversation if we'd played the full game with 11 men? I'm firmly of the belief that it would be."

On the substitutes' contributions:

"It's always going to be a squad game, it's never just going to be about 11 players, especially when you have the number of games we've had in the last seven days.

"You'll see a lot of teams have to utilise their squad. Everyone got an opportunity today bar AP (Aaron Pierre) and Harvey Kirby-Moore, but it's always difficult because you can only make a certain number of subs.

"I felt the players who came on had an impact on the game. It's always difficult especially when you make a substitution that is tactical after 15-20 minutes.

"It's disappointing for Elliott (Bennett) to have to come off but we wanted him in the team to gain more control in 11v11. 

"Then we end up losing Chey and we have to bring Nohan on who has different qualities to Elliott but look, it was always and it will continue to be a squad game. And everyone, whether they be a starter or a finisher, has to contribute."

On missing Chey through suspension:

"It's difficult, it's avoidable. He's got to own it. He's got to own the fact he's made that error today. I think he will do. He's got to accept it and he's got a different role within the group now because he can't play.

"Someone else now gets an opportunity. It's a chance for someone else to try and keep the shirt.

"Will it be difficult? Yeah, when you lose a player of the stature of Chey, but at the same time it's avoidable. We shouldn't be losing a player after four minutes, especially an experienced one making the decision to make that tackle.

"So I'm really disappointed but we move on. It's another opportunity for someone else to get a chance on Saturday against Colchester in the cup and show us what we can do."

On injured duo Brandon Fleming and Kieran Phillips not being in the squad: 

“Brandon, unfortunately, had a fitness test yesterday and didn’t come through it. We were hopeful he would but he didn’t. 

“Kieran had an exploratory operation and we are still waiting to find out the full extent of what that means for him and means for us. 

“The one good thing this week is we’ve had Jordan Shipley and Elliot Thorpe back in the training group. 

“I’m hopeful both of those will be available in some capacity next weekend. 

“So while I don’t think Brandon will be absent for a long period of time, Kieran might be a bit longer but as I say, I can’t give you the specifics on that because I don’t know it. 

“What I will say if the group will get a lift from Elliot Thorpe and Jordan Shipley being back involved – whether or not Brandon Fleming is available or fit to play – we’ll find our early next week.” 

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