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Matt Taylor post Brighton under-21s

19 September 2023


Matt Taylor post Brighton under-21s

19 September 2023

Matt Taylor met with the press following tonight's game against Brighton and Hove Albion Under-21s.

Following a goalless 90 minutes in the EFL Trophy - Town went on to grab a bonus point after winning the penalty shoot-out.

Salop had some big chances in the game. Morgan Feeney headed over from close range. Ryan Bowman sent a half-volley crashing against the post. And Tom Bayliss and Dan Udoh were brilliantly denied by goalkeeper Tom McGill.

Brighton also had their moments - with goalkeeper Marko Marosi making a couple of excellent saves.

Speaking post-match, Matt discussed his team's performance, Marosi's display and the penalty shoot-out which ended 4-1 in Town's favour.

On the game:

"I think first and foremost I've got to say that was a tough game for us tonight.

"They are a very good football team, they play in a different way to that which we face week in, week out in the league.

"The players had to problem solve because I asked them to be aggressive, I asked them to press with a real intensity and at times we were neutral on the backline ie three-v-three or two-v-two.

"In terms of the first half against the second half, I thought we looked stronger in the second half; we grew into the game, we created more opportunities, we had more chances (but) we still can't score that illusive goal which, if I look at the chances we've had tonight, I'm slightly gobsmacked we haven't scored.

"The players are desperate to succeed. I think you saw how much this competition meant to us as a football club with the team that was selected and with two injuries to Carl [Winchester] and Taylor Perry, Nohan comes back into the team and Ryan [Finnigan] is starting to understand more of what we want.

"It's just that final third decision-making which let us down in first half. Second half we were better, but we've still got to be more ruthless and score goals.

"That's still the message, that's going to be the constant message from me. I've spoken to the players in there (and) I'm not going to come off them in terms of what they do in possession because I think they're good footballers and they must now believe it themselves and when they get into those really good positions they must take chances."

On an encouraging end to the game:

"(We had) some really good moments that you work hard for. So the next thing and the icing on top of the cake is putting the ball in the back of the net.

"We did that with the penalties, we did that really well. I thought the quality of the penalties was excellent. 

"I thought Marko was excellent. It's probably one of the only games where we didn't have any detail on where the penalty takers were going to go, so he's had to go off instinct.

"It was pleasing in the second half because we looked in the ascendancy, we looked aggressive, we looked on the front foot, we were playing progressive passes.

"I'm still going to keep going after it, it's the detail in the final third. Whether we're passing or shooting, we have to make better decisions.

"It could be the contact on the ball, sliding your teammate in, shooting, passing across goal instead to the near post, they're the big details and the players can do it. They've done it this season and they'll continue working hard on the training pitch to get it because you have to.

"It's an area where we need to be better."

On the substitutions:

"It was good that we made subs and didn't concede.

"I thought we looked strong at the back today which is a real positive for us.

"Yes, it's a squad game. You can see some of the players haven't played as much as others recently but they grew into the game, so I'm pleased with that.

"What we need is a group or a squad of players who are ready for selection on Friday to play on Saturday against Leyton Orient in the league."

On Marko Marosi:

"It was a difficult call to play him instead of Harry [Burgoyne] and I understand Harry's frustrations, I totally take that on board and accept it.

"But Marko, he was exceptional tonight. I thought he was good in terms of his use of the ball on Saturday compared to tonight, he was better tonight.

"(He made) better decision making, made some fabulous saves, some world-class saves and then you see the quality that he has there at the end with the penalties.

"I must say where we're fortunate is that we have two very good goalkeepers at the football club so it was a tough call to not pick Harry for the game tonight having picked him for the Forest Green game, but I think it was the right call."

On the penalties:

"We made a substitution with 30 seconds to go to bring Joe Anderson on because he's a penalty taker and he's put it in the top corner.

"I'm really pleased for Ryan after the penalty miss at Forest Green but those players you saw were the players who wanted to take penalties, so I'm pleased for them and it gets us an extra bonus point as well so it means we go into the last game with something to play for which, ultimately, is the aim of this competition.

"Yes, teams will use this competition to give players minutes but we've used it to get a positive performance and a positive result."

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