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Neal takes positives after improved display in defeat

Manager's reaction after defeat at Fleetwood

19 August 2017

Neal Ardley expressed his disappointment with the outcome of today's match at Fleetwood Town, but he felt that his side could take positives from their performance.

Speaking during his post-match interview after the 2-0 defeat at Highbury Stadium, Neal said: "I am really disappointed that we have lost the game, but I did not think they were the better team by any stretch of the imagination. They had four attempts, two on target, and have scored two goals. We have been punished for a couple of things we had been working on, which we got wrong. The first one was really poor from our point of view.

"We had been working on our distances from front to back and the distance was huge for that goal. We ended up with a two versus one in their favour. For the second goal, we were chasing the game and it had become a bit harder, but we did not get back into our shape quickly enough. Credit to the lad, he has finished them really well, but we have let them grind out a win by not taking our chances.

"We have had probably six really good chances with scrambles in the box, one-on-one chances, shots cleared off the line, but we have not taken any of them. If you don't get both boxes right, you will lose games of football. Today was a lot more positive than last week. As much as I am disappointed, last week you could not say anything good about what we did. Today, we have limited a team near the top to very little, but we haven't taken our chances. It was a scrappy game in the conditions and overall we were probably the better team on chances created."

Neal praised 17-year-old midfielder Anthony Hartigan for his performance on his full league debut and he added that he has complete faith in the squad assembled during the summer.

"Anthony was really assured," said Neal. "It was a tough game for him to play in and he is one for the future. Liam had only trained for two days and his knee was still quite sore. We just felt with the intensity of the game, it would be a tough one for Liam to come in for. He was a week behind everyone else in pre-season too.

"We have got to get our confidence back and that winning feeling. There is no panic. We have to keep believing and keep going. We have got good players and I have every faith in them to go and win games. We just have to find the formula to win games, find the formula to keep clean sheets, and to take our chances when we create them. Today was a bit more positive than last week, but we have to start turning positives into results."

Tune into our iFollow channel tomorrow for extended highlights and an interview with captain Barry Fuller.

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