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ROBINS: STICK WITH US

22 February 2014

Mark calls for support despite defeat

Mark Robins has called for the fans to maintain their “magnificent” support as Town fell short in a 0-2 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.

He said: “This isn’t a criticism, it’s a fact; we have a young side. There are one or two of them who are experienced and know better, but there is no excuse for not really creating anything at home.

“We need the supporters to stay with us. I can totally understand their frustration. That’s certainly not the way we try to play, the transition between the middle and the final third was non-existent, and when we did get in it was long-ball. 

“We saw that away from home last week; we were excellent.  We have to try and be better at home and continue in the same way as we have done. What Sheffield Wednesday did was show more urgency and they were better at getting in our faces.” 

Town started brightly and had the lion’s share of possession, with 67% of the ball, but failed to create any real chances despite 16 attempts at goal. Wednesday had 12 shots, with two of them falling into the back of the Terriers’ goal.

“We are looking to try and get the ball in the right areas, but to do that we need the supporters to stick with us to continue that for the confidence of the players. Our match preparation was not to kick the ball in the final third as quickly as possible, we looked to excite the fans and get the fans on their feet but there wasn’t enough of that. 

“It’s tough to take, especially on the back of last week’s performance, but you haven’t seen the best of us today. It’s difficult because we need that belief and keep passing the ball. I’m not changing it because we are normally good. We have to entertain the supporters. 

“At the stage we are at, sometimes you have a performance like today. The next stage is that mental barrier and we will look to bring one or two in to take us to the next level, but that’s how it is at the moment.”

Wednesday were quick on the break, with the likes of Jacques Maghoma and Michail Antonio looking dangerous.

“They were athletic and they had an outlet in Atdhe Nuhui and they had the runners going on. We have to learn to follow our runners and avoid dropping deep. They haven’t totally decimated us; they have just got the advantage when they started throwing bodies at us. 

“With our team and how we set up, we don’t look the same. It’s totally different to Sheffield Wednesday but we are evolving and we certainly can’t be too small, but we are looking for clever, hungry players who are athletic and will get people off their seats.”

Joe Lolley came on to make his first appearance at the John Smith’s Stadium, but the 21 year-old could not manage to help Town fight back.

“The young lad Joe Lolley came on today and the fans were crying out to see him. They have seen him today, but he found that tough. He will take that experience on board and he is capable, but it was a tough second half for everyone today. We have let them off the hook and I know they worked hard. They were different to when we played them at Hillsbrough, but we have got to do better with that transition forwards.”

Town now sit 14th in the league table, 13 points above relegation and 10 points away from 6th place. They have 14 games remaining, and are 18 points behind the 58 points amassed last season.

“It was a winnable game today, it’s winnable game next week and the week after that. They are all winnable games from now until the end of the season. That’s the Championship, it’s just that we have to believe. It’s often there at the beginning of games, dissipates midway through and then starts to come back in flickers, so it’s a mental thing. 

“We have players with different abilities and qualities. We have to amalgamate the different qualities as a team which we do brilliantly a lot of the time, but today it has fallen short. My remit last season was to stay up, this year was to improve on last season. We have done that, but you don’t want to rest on your laurels. 

“We have 14 games left and we want to try and pick up as many points as possible. The season doesn’t end now and we have to play our hearts out for the supporters and give them something to cheer. They will cheer us on in return.”

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