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Neal pleased with response from the squad

Manager's interview after victory in Checkatrade Trophy

6 November 2018

Apologies, this video is unvailable.

Neal Ardley praised his players for finally delivering better quality at both ends of the pitch after an impressive team performance against Stevenage.

Speaking during his post-match interview for iFollow, Neal said: "It's put smiles on their faces. We took the game seriously. With the run that we are in we have to try and win every game because we've forgotten what it's like to win. On the back of what I said to the boys yesterday, the response was good. We took our chances. There are no excuses, we can't hide behind the numbers that I'm seeing in the last seven games, with our end product in both boxes. We all know that, we've seen the games. We've been missing our chances at one end and making mistakes at the other. If we had changed 25 per cent of that we would probably have won three or four of those games.

"If you look at what we've done in the last seven games, you collect our stats and the opposition stats. We've had 113 crosses and the opposition have had 57 in the last seven games. We've had 96 shots and the opposition have had 64. We've had 22 clear-cut chances and the opposition have had 16, but the only thing that matters is that we've only taken one of those and the opposition have taken six. Then we've conceded poor set-pieces, so cut 25 per cent of that out, and make sure that we demand more of ourselves in that box. Then we will win games of football and at the moment we need to.

"It was a great finish by Kwesi, but I'm even going away from the fact that the boys might be lacking confidence and saying that shows a lack of character. Saying you are low on confidence is an excuse, we can't afford to have excuses. I can't, the club can't, and it's the same for the team. We have to wipe the excuses out and start taking our chances. For Kwesi to go through, after a great ball and great movement in the first minute, and to make sure he finished the chance, that's credit to him. It's absolutely brilliant, because he probably had my message to him yesterday ringing through his ears when he was running onto it."

Anthony Wordsworth and Alfie Egan struck fine goals from outside the box against Stevenage and Neal believes there is plenty more to come from both midfielders. Our manager added that the squad cannot afford to dwell on recent defeats, as they look to build on this victory.

"This system should suit 'Woody', he likes to get goals," added Neal. "This system would give him a chance to do that, but we haven't had him fit. He still needs to catch-up with his fitness, but it's a good start. Alfie is improving. There were a lot of bits to his game that we wanted to improve and he has taken on that information, he's a keen learner. He is still improving, he's got great energy. He is starting to add things, his use of the ball is better. It's not just running around, he has more structure to his game. We are really pleased for him in getting a goal.

"There are still things that the boys have to learn. Coxy has to get the video out on Thursday and show them some stuff, but it was a good clean sheet. It was nice all round. We've all been down and I know the fans have too, so it's a start. Hopefully, it will create a nicer feeling. If we can go and get a win on Friday, then we see where we go from there. We can't look back on the seven games, we just have to go for it. I know my targets, I know what I've got to do to make sure I'm the manager of this football club and I've got to set the team up to do it."

The full video interview with Neal is available to watch on our iFollow channel by clicking on the link above.

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