Simon offers frank assessment following Middlesbrough defeat
Simon Grayson was disappointed with the manner of his side’s defeat on Tuesday evening as they were easily beaten by three goals against Middlesbrough.
“We are all disappointed; the manner of the defeat is the most disappointing aspect of it,” said Simon.
“We didn’t have a fire in our bellies, a determination not to concede and when we had the ball we didn’t keep possession of it well enough. When you put all those ingredients together, against one of the best footballing teams in the Division, you get punished – and we did tonight. I have got no qualms about the result – we deserved to get beat."
Town were missing a number of first team starters through injury and suspension, but Simon refused to use those absentees as an excuse.
“We have had a quick chat about the result and we will now dust ourselves down and prepare for the weekend. The players have now got to do their recover and work out what they can do to affect the weekend game. We could make excuses and say that we have five players out who would normally be in the 18, but in my opinion it was an opportunity for new players to come in and make a contribution. We didn’t have enough players who played well enough tonight.”
He continued: “It would have been difficult coming here with a full strength team because Middlesbrough has a very strong team who play a successful type of football. If you don’t do your job properly they will punish you and tonight we had too many players off the pace. Some of the players who came in did OK, but the players who have been playing all season only did OK as well.”
Chris Atkinson – who returned from his loan spell at Chesterfield on Monday – came on as a second-half substitute and looked composed and assured on the ball.
“I had no problems putting Chris into the squad because he is a good player,” added Simon. “He has grown up a lot thanks to his loan move to Chesterfield and I had no hesitation in putting him on as early as I did do. Youthful exuberance and energy can take you a long way and I thought he did OK; he passed the ball around nicely and gave us an extra dimension in midfield.”