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Alexander: The players kept going

22 August 2017

Manager Graham Alexander provided his reaction to iFollow Iron after the 3-0 Carabao Cup second round defeat to Middlesbrough.

Match Reports

Report: Middlesbrough 3-0 Iron

22 August 2017

The boss was pleased with his players’ efforts, and how they kept going throughout the game, but felt his side should have found the back of the net.

Alexander reviewed the game and also offered his thoughts on the tragic passing of former Scunthorpe manager Bill Green.

GA: I felt we started the game really well. We were comfortable in possession, we were positive in our play and we created some really good opportunities. We had a fantastic opportunity to take the lead at 0-0 and unfortunately, we didn’t take it. Within a couple of minutes, they’ve gone up the other end and scored a goal. I felt the players kept at it. We were facing a squad with a lot of attacking talent, pace, power and skill. It was always going to be a difficult game to keep a clean sheet, but I felt attacking-wise we should have scored as well on one or two occasions. We started the second-half positive again and had some good opportunities again. They hit us on the counter with their quality and scored a third goal. After that it was going to be extremely difficult, but not one of the players chucked the game in. We constantly worked hard to carry on competing in the game.

GA: I feel the biggest difference is the less chances they need to score and that proved the case tonight, but I’m just looking at our performance. I still think there are a couple of things we can do better. We’ve come to a real tough fixture and we’ve competed and played some good stuff. We have to give credit to Middlesbrough; when they found the chances, they were very clinical.

GA: I said to the players that when we look back there were some good spells of play and some really incisive attacking stuff. We were looking forward to the game, we’re glad we came up and competed. Hopefully we’ve put on a performance that the supporters can see that we tried our best, but ultimately, I think Middlesbrough had too much quality for us.

GA: We’ve got a period of games now where we play Tuesday and Saturday. We’ve got a long trip on Saturday (to Plymouth Argyle). Funso Ojo has only done two weeks of pre-season with us and has played every minute of every game. We’ve got to make sure we look after Funso. He was obviously disappointed not to be starting the game tonight, but from our experience of English football we’ve got to make sure we’ve got him for 50 games this season. He is a vital player for us and has been fantastic for us since he has come in. We felt that it was prudent to just look after him tonight, and we felt that we were bringing quality players into the team as well. I don’t feel we weakened the team, but we have to use the squad accordingly. 

GA: I spoke to a group of players at the start of the season and I said I didn’t just see Rory as the captain, I saw all five of them as leaders. I like to spread that responsibility throughout the group. It was a little bit of a personal thing making Bishop the captain tonight, but I know we’ve got four or five lads there that can wear the armband any week.

GA: It’s terrible news. I found out about his situation last week. Bill gave me my debut and he was my first real manager. He managed me in the reserves when I was a young lad and he believed in me. Some of the lessons he taught me have stayed with me today. He was a fantastic man. It didn’t just stop when he left Scunthorpe, he was still in contact with me when I was out of work last year, giving me belief and confidence as he always did. He then congratulated me on getting this job and telling me I had tough boots to fill because obviously Bill was a manager here for a while as well and did a fantastic job. I only saw him at the end of last season when he came to a game. We had a good 10-15 minutes together before the game and I’m really sad to know that was the last time I was going to see him. Hopefully we can play this season in the spirit that Bill lived his life. He was a fantastic man, down to earth, hardworking and a lot of the lessons I’ve taken into my career and life came from Bill. We wish him and his family all the best. I remember him consoling me on the pitch at Wembley when I missed my penalty and he told me it would make me stronger. I learnt so much from Bill. I took them values right throughout my career and I wouldn’t have had the career that I did without Bill’s help. Everyone talked fondly of him because he was a massive man to whoever met him. Hopefully we can show his spirit in the way we play and do his memory justice. 

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