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Post Forest Green | Matt Taylor

5 September 2023


Post Forest Green | Matt Taylor

5 September 2023

Matt Taylor met with the press after tonight's game at Forest Green Rovers in the EFL Trophy.

Goals from Dylan Kadji, Tyrese Omotoye and Matty Stevens secured Forest Green's victory on a night when Salop struggled to convert their chances.

Town - with a much changed side - had 25 shots on goal, 11 of which were on target, while FGR goalkeeper Jamie Searle picked up the man of the match award.

Those chances included Taylor Perry hitting the post while Searle produced brilliant saves to deny both Kieran Phillips and Elliott Bennett. Searle also saved Ryan Bowman's penalty late on.

Speaking post-match, Matt discussed Town's improved chance creation, but caveated that with his disappointment at his team's failure to convert those opportunities.

On the game:

"I think the scoreline probably paints a picture that doesn't replicate the game.

"What I mean by that is we had 25 shots tonight. We've hit the target 11 times, their goalkeeper has made 11 saves. We've missed a penalty. We've had more crosses tonight than we've had all season.

"The challenge at the beginning of the game for the players was to have more crosses, more final third entries, more shots and more goals. We've hit three out of four of those but the most important one is what we haven't hit tonight.

"When we start the game the way we do, I felt we were in the ascendancy and when you don't score that goal you're always liable to conceding.

"I still felt at half-time that we would be in a good place, a good position because I knew we would create chances with the players we had on the pitch.

"But the real necessity is that when you create those chances you've got to score. We didn't do that tonight, we missed too many chances I felt the team were capable of scoring.

"Then we get hit twice on a counter because our press wasn't adhered to properly. When you're against a team like this you know they're going to have possession, you know that as a football club they play a certain way and we probably, for the first time in a while, didn't get that right, so we concede three goals.

"I feel, stood here now, that it's not a 3-0 game with the amount of chances we've created but understandably, I'm really disappointed because let's make no bones about it, a lot of our fans have travelled here tonight and they'll be extremely disappointed as are we.

"I accept the criticism, it's a 3-0 loss away from home and we make sure now that we are ready as a group of players and staff for the next game."

On if there are positives to take:

"Of course there are - 100% there arebecau se if you look at the difference in terms of the final third play today compared to Saturday, it's polar opposites.

"What we have to do when we create those chances is the delivery needs to be better, the runs need to be better, the contact on the ball needs to be better. 

"I think their goalkeeper has had a really good game tonight, he's made some wonderful saves even the save he makes from the penalty, the save he makes from Elliott's free kick in the first half, the second half, so while I am really unhappy with the result, I felt in the final third, we looked like more of a threat tonight.

"But you can't come away from home, create 25 opportunities, hit the target 11 times and not score a goal.

"You'll pick up the paper and you'll look at the expected goals and it'll probably say we should've scored two or three, but we haven't so that's an area where we need to continue working on with the players to make sure that we score enough goals because goals change games."

On the goals conceded: 

“Any goal that you concede you’re disappointed. Their third goal we don’t get the press right. They get out, we’re not engaged at the back and from 25-yards he sticks it in the top corner. 

“At the moment I haven’t seen the goals back. I think it’s always better to have this conversation when I have seen them back. 

“We will do that this evening. But every goal you conceded in every game of football will be avoidable. 

“We will make sure we feed back to the players as we always do. But we know it’s not good enough to concede three goals away from home.” 

On making eight changes to the starting XI: 

“I felt the balance was correct. There were five starting debuts tonight. That is positive. 

“Chey (Dunkley), Taylor (Perry) and Dan (Udoh) were the three players that started from the weekend. 

“What it has done and what it will do is give us food for thought going into the Bristol Rovers game. 

“I thought players, whilst the effort was there, sometimes the football understanding can be improved. 

“But in terms of the final third, getting there was good tonight, the delivery was good but the finishing definitely wasn’t up to the standards we expect. We should be scoring at least two or three goals tonight.” 

On Brandon Fleming and Ryan Finnigan starting: 

“When we win the ball back I’d like us to play forwards if we can. 

“When we did play forward – when Ryan did get the ball, when Brandon got into crossing areas, the delivery was good on the whole. 

“I’m pleased those boys got some minutes. I’m pleased Max (Mata) got some minutes. I’m pleased Tunmise (Sobowale) and Jason (Sraha) have made their debuts. 

“There was aspects of the performance we were pleased with. But also huge areas for improvement.” 

On the tournament itself and two games still to play: 

"We’re taking this competition seriously. We’ve made changes tonight, but I believe the players who came in are senior players who are part of the first-team squad.  

"We are going to take this competition seriously; we would like to make sure we get two positive results because we want to get through to the next round of the cup. 

"But, to start the way we have tonight with that result is hugely underwhelming, so what we need to do now is when we play the next game in this cup, we need to perform better and take our chances."

On the long wait until the next game because of the international break: 

"I think the group are becoming better at understanding what we want but our job as coaches is to reinforce the message every day and the key messages we’re giving.  

"We understand they’re human, there will be times at which they might think they know but we need to make sure that they know. 

"We’ve got a period now of six, maybe eight training days where we can get some really positive work in with the players.

"It’s going to be tough; they will be in over the weekend, it was in the planner because what we have to do is use the time on the training pitch to give us the best opportunity come the next game against Bristol Rovers." 

On Michael Parker’s departure:

"It was a mutually agreed decision, I think that Michael felt that he would be better suited in a different environment, maybe in an under-23s development environment and he goes with our best wishes. 

"It’s a shame because we thought that we’d be able to help him and develop him but I think there’s always a human element to football and the agreement was mutual, so we’ll wish him the best of luck wherever he goes next."

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