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Interviews

MICHAEL DUFF REFLECTS ON EXETER DEFEAT

9 October 2022

Interviews

MICHAEL DUFF REFLECTS ON EXETER DEFEAT

9 October 2022

Our Head Coach gave his reaction to iFollow Barnsley following our 2-0 defeat at home to Exeter City on Saturday.

Goals early on in each half by Jay Stansfield consigned the Reds to their first defeat in six matches in the pair's first meeting since 1981.

Michael Duff pulled no punches when appraising his side's performance against the Grecians.

"Disappointing. Flat. Lifeless," opened the gaffer. "It probably started yesterday, with the Luke Thomas news. We conceded in the first minute with the first shot, but we didn't deserve anything out of the game. I think they've scored two goals with their only two shots on target. Not getting away from the fact that we weren't good enough. 

"That was the main disappointment. The fact it looked like we didn't have any energy, any spark."

In training on Friday, Thomas had to be stretchered off the field after suffering a nasty leg injury. A trip to hospital revealed a broken leg for the attacking midfielder, a huge blow for the player and his teammates.

Duff provided more detail as to how the injury occurred and the possible psychological impact it has had since on the team.

"He scored a goal in training at the back post, no one anywhere near him," he explained. "His leg has got caught underneath him, but his studs got caught in the ground. So, we knew straight away it was something serious. 

"It's never nice for the teammates. It wasn't a tackle, it was pretty innocuous. But, when your teammate is getting stretchered off with gas and air, in agony, it's always a weird feeling. You've then got to go and re-pick a team because he would have been starting.

"I don't know whether that was a hangover into today, I'm not sure. But ultimately, we weren't good enough, I do know that."

The first half saw the Reds fall quickly behind and then struggle to build any meaningful attack, with things not flowing in the final third as we have seen in recent games.

Ten minutes before the interval James Norwood was replaced by Adam Phillips. Our Head Coach admitted it could have been anyone in the forward line that was replaced, an attempt to pose a different problem for the Grecians defence.

"To be honest, it could have been any one of the front three," he honestly replied. "I thought the difference in the game was that their front men ran in behind, chased, hurried, did everything. 

"We passed it backwards and sideways and never passed forward. Didn't hold it up, and didn't run in behind. That was the brutality of the decision.

"It's 35, 36 minutes in and we can wait for half-time to protect his ego, but we're trying to win the game. It's not personal, it's not about him. We wanted a spark, it didn't work. We didn't get any reaction we wanted.

"But, we'll come in Monday morning and we'll crack on as normal. There's no agenda in it."

The 44-year-old also highlighted the importance of not overreacting to this result, coming off the back of a six-game unbeaten run for his side.

"The last defeat was the 20th of August," Duff emphasised. "That's quite a long time ago. There needs to be a realism within it. We didn't deserve to win the game and we knew we were poor. 

"There's no crisis. The same with we didn't think we'd cracked it when we've been on this little unbeaten run. It's learn, react in a positive way, and that doesn't mean we're going to win every week. But, if we are going to get beat, we can't get beaten like that. It was lifeless and limp."


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