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Watkins: "It's a kick in the teeth, but we have to go again."

11 March 2017

Result is disappointing for the attacker, but insisted they will bounce back stronger against Norwich City.

Speaking to the assembled media, Marley Watkins felt Barnsley should have killed Ipswich Town off when they had the chance in this afternoon's 1-1 draw at Oakwell.

Tom Lawrence struck a stoppage time equaliser for the Tractor Boys to earn a share of the spoils, after Watkins had put the Reds ahead just before the hour.

Adam Armstrong and Adam Hammill both passed up chances to increase the lead before Lawrence struck in added time.

The attacker insisted that despite scoring the goal, the consensus is that the Reds should have come away with more than just a point.

He said: "It feels like a loss to be honest, I thought we dominated the game and were the better team, we just have to kill them off when we got the chances, we didn't do that and we got punished.

"If there's one goal in it, anything can happen and that's what happened today. I'm happy with the goal, I'm just gutted for the boys to be honest because we played well, we should have won and we haven't, so it's a kick in the teeth but we have to go again next Saturday.

"It's just an inside run and a great ball by Matty James, who has been quality since he's come in. Just had to tense up to hold them off, but it's a good finish so happy days, but it's a bad result so I'm gutted."

Reflecting on the game and the season as a whole, Watkins feels the Reds have continued to defy belief in reaching 11th place in the table, and insisted they are in no mood to settle for that.

From where they were on the opening day after being defeated 4-2 by today's opponents, and after losing key players in January, the attacker feels they have adapted well to life in the Championship.

"It's all good experience but ultimately we need to be better. It's a 90 minute game, unfortunately I've slipped to stop the cross, we've defended them all game but for whatever reason in the last ten seconds, we've let our man go.

"It's frustrating, all the boys are down but we need to pick ourselves up and go again next Saturday.

"For whatever reason, the run we've been on lately since Villa hasn't been good enough. I think we've been in every game but the results haven't been on our side, we need to put that right but we're hunting for that next win desperately.

"It's difficult, we'd have to win every game, that's not impossible but it is very hard. You've got to aim as high as possible but at the end of the day, we were getting written off at the start of the season so, we still want to aim for the top eight or as close to the play-offs as possible.

"We've come very far, looking back at that game, I know we lost 4-2 but it was a good learning curve but believe it or not, on that day we could have won. I think if we had this experience behind us we would have but we've come a long way.

"January was a bit of getting used to because we ended up losing quality players and a big chunk of our team and we've managed to stay in the top half which is impressive, but at the same time we want to push on and keep climbing.

"We still have quality players, but no matter how quality the players, we've still got to learn each other's game, get to know each other, know what your weaknesses and strengths are. People just expect to carry on but it's not always the case," he added.

There was rumoured interest in the summer from the Tractor Boys in Watkins, but he insisted his focus was on playing for Barnsley and felt it would have been disrespectful to not to focus on the Reds. 

When asked about the speculation, Watkins said: "I just crack on. Once the window closed and in the window, I just focus on Barnsley and whatever happens, happens, but I'm a Barnsley player. That's what I focus on. It'd be disrespectful not to focus on that.

"You try and give your all every game regardless, it's just coincidence I've scored against a team that was interested in me. You want to play at the highest possible level and whatever route that is you've got to do it.

"At the end of the day, we're higher than Ipswich and we do have a chance of the play-offs, it's only an outside chance. But you still want to play at the highest possible level."

Watch the full interview with Marley on Barnsley PlayerHD by clicking HERE!

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