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Alexander praises energy and discipline

23 September 2017

Manager Graham Alexander praised his players' energy and discipline, as United defeated Portsmouth 2-0 at Glanford Park on Saturday.

Match Reports

Report: Iron 2-0 Portsmouth

23 September 2017

First-half goals from Lee Novak and Duane Holmes sealed the victory, with Scunthorpe moving up to fifth in League One following the second win in a row.

Alexander spoke with iFollow Iron after the game about the win, striker Novak coming off in the second half, Conor Townsend missing out and a sixth clean sheet in nine league games so far this season.

ON THE WIN…
GA: We’re delighted with three points first and foremost, that’s what we set out to do. We spoke after the Doncaster game about not wanting to waste that great result by failing to follow it up with another win. We’re delighted with a really good 2-0 victory. In the first half we played some really good stuff. Really positive incisive football culminated in the first goal, which I thought was superb play from everybody. We were delighted to open our account that way. Duane then added the second by getting in the positions we want him to get into more often – around that goalscoring area. It was a fantastic goal for him and we’re delighted. In the second half, we showed a fantastic professionalism and discipline to make sure we didn’t concede anything silly, and we made sure we took the three points. The two sides we showed today in the two halves were both pleasing for me. They carried a lot of threats and are a good attacking team, which they showed last week (against Fleetwood). They have pace, power, quality, experience and height, and we had to be really defensively strong as a team to keep the clean sheet and make sure we won the game. I’m delighted with everyone that contributed to it, and that started from the front two.

ON LEE NOVAK COMING OFF…
GA: I think he has a bit of a tight hamstring. He wanted to stay on and he said he hadn’t pulled it or anything, but it had just gone a bit tight on him. We were 2-0 up and had Tom Hopper, who can come on and do the same job, and have a lot of games coming up, so we felt it wasn’t worth the risk of keeping him on. It was precautionary that we took him off, and Hops came on and led the line just as well. That’s what it will take from this squad. We will need different players for different scenarios on different weeks. It’s important they understand that, which they do, and they buy into what we need to be successful this season.

"It’s important they understand that, which they do, and they buy into what we need to be successful this season."

Graham Alexander, manager

ON CONOR TOWNSEND MISSING OUT…
GA: He has a slight calf injury that he picked up this week. It’s disappointing but we had no qualms putting Lewis Butroid in. He’s in the first team squad for a reason, and we gave him his debut last season (in the Checkatrade Trophy) for a reason, and that’s because he’s a good player. He knows the job, the discipline and what we need from a full-back. He knows the fundamentals of our play in possession and I felt he had a debut to remember, because the lad he was up against is a real threat, has loads of pace and power, and has scored goals this season. But for a couple of instances when he got the other side of him, I thought he was superb for us on the day. He has an old head on young shoulders. He’s intelligent, mature and really conscientious in how he trains and works – he does everything that’s asked of him. We put him on a separate physical programme at the start of this calendar year because we knew we were giving him a contract and we wanted to rush his physical progress through to make sure he was competitive for this season. He took to the work himself and came back physically stronger this pre-season so he could compete with men, and he certainly competed with a strong one today and I’m really pleased with him. Like all young players do, he has to continue in that form and realise that careers don’t last over one game  - it’s about hundreds of games. It’s a start though and we’re delighted with him, as are the other players. They were fully confident he’d come in and do the job expected.

Graham Alexander

ON THE CLEAN SHEET…
GA: Our first priority is to win games, but if you’re keeping clean sheets you’re giving yourself the best chance to win matches. You have a point on the board already if you have a clean sheet. We know we have goal threats and we know we can score goals from different areas of the pitch, and different players. The clean sheet is down to the whole team. The front team ran their socks off to put Portsmouth under pressure. It took a lot of energy and discipline to make sure we kept that clean sheet. They’re all buying into every bit of work we do and are getting their rewards by winning games. 

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