Daniel Stendel gave his thoughts to the media after seeing his side secure an excellent victory away at Accrington Stanley.
The home side had only lost once at home all season, that was an opening day defeat. After winning Sky Bet League Two last season, Stanley are looking to gain back-to-back promotions and sat on the verge of a play-off place before kick-off, so the Reds knew they were in for a tough match.
“I think in the first half, I was not really satisfied.” Said Stendel. “We wanted to play better and press more, but there was too much of a gap between the lines and that was the reason we didn’t make enough interceptions. We had a lot of counter situations that were not used, it was important that we scored with our best attack. In the second half, it was a different game.
“We did better second half. The game at Accrington was a narrow pitch, with the close stands, lots of supporters, it’s a very special atmosphere. We showed we can play against this, that was important. When we play better we can score more, we had a lot of good situations to score but the last pass was not the best for me. The best thing was the passion, that’s what we need.”
Cauley Woodrow made his first league start for the Reds, partnering top scorer, Kieffer Moore. The pairing started together in the Emirates FA Cup victory over Notts County last weekend and netted a goal each, mirroring that achievement again against Accrington.
“Keiffer’s pass inside was excellent and Cauley scored,” said Stendel when talking about the opening goal of the match. “Like I said in the last league game the one-nil lead is very important for us. I’m very happy for Cauley that he has scored and his self-confidence will grow more and more for the next games, we need that, we need both strikers to score for their confidence.”
The Reds haven’t had to face a player-deficit so far this season in the league. Tuesday evening’s Checkatrade Trophy match saw Stendel’s side see out a victory with 10 men, which was followed up with the same situation and result at the weekend after the dismissal of Zeki Fryers at one-nil up.
“We won the game and Zeki gave his best so it is not a problem, the subs came in and gave their best, it’s good for our team and their spirit to show we can play in a difficult situation and become closer together, it was very important to see us do that.
“We changed our formation a little bit, we brought Jacob Brown on so that we didn’t stay too deep and then our defensive midfielders played very well, they made a lot of runs and our back four was then very good. They won a lot of headers, it wasn’t easy to defend out there but we did it and that was key.”
The final word from Stendel was for debutant ‘keeper, Jordan Smith. The 23-year-old signed on a week-long emergency loan from Nottingham Forest on Friday morning, going straight into the starting line-up with Adam Davies still on Wales duty and Jack Walton picking up an injury.
“Jordan did very well. We talked about this in the dressing room, all players gave Jordan applause for a very good performance. It wasn’t an easy situation, he trained only one time and then played and had a clean sheet, that’s the best result for him and for us.”