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Alexander praises performance in local derby

23 January 2018

Though disappointed to see his team concede an equaliser in injury time, United manager Graham Alexander hailed his side’s performance in the local derby against Doncaster Rovers.

Scunthorpe drew 1-1 against their near neighbours, taking the lead through Tom Hopper’s early goal before Alfie Beestin’s leveller.

After the game, Alexander provided his reaction to iFollow Iron.

ON THE PERFORMANCE…
GA:
We were fantastic, dominated and created so many chances to score. We should have won the game two or three nil. But in terms of the end result, I’m disappointed because I don’t think we deserved that right at the end. They got a little helping hand with the free-kick again, and they took advantage of that. Overall, the performance was superb from the team tonight.

ON KEEPING AN UNCHANGED SIDE…
GA:
I felt the players deserved the loyalty for how they’d done over the last two or three months. I wasn’t going to make wholesale changes after one bad result. What if it had happened again tonight? I’d have had to do it all over again. That’s no way of keeping a consistent mindset with the team and squad. I felt over Saturday that the players were desperate to react in the right way. They certainly did that and were superb. That was as much of a one-sided game for 75-80 minutes that we’re likely to play in and not win. Doncaster hung in there, defended their goal relatively well with blocks and saves, and we were probably not clinical enough with some of the opportunities.

ON THE REACTION IN THE CHANGING ROOM…
GA:
I’m devastated for the players because they deserved a great three points against our local rivals. We showed we care, we mean it and that we’re a good team. That was back to the standard we’ve set in terms of how we play. There are a lot of good young players out there, and they have to learn what they’re good at as a team and individuals, and make sure they repeat those things so they become habits. They need to think about what they did that enabled them to play well, and then make it happen again. We sat a little bit deep towards the end and they went for it because they were 1-0 down. A culmination of things at the end cost us two points.

ON GOALSCORER TOM HOPPER…
GA:
Hops is an intelligent footballer. We work on certain tactical instructions and styles of play, and he carries them off to a tee. That’s his reward (the goal) and he gives everything to the cause. I thought he was flat-out at the end, so that’s why I brought him off. He’s a proper team player and a type that every team needs. I’m buzzing for Hops to get the goal but gutted that it wasn’t one that got us three points, because it would have been welcome and deserved.

ON FUNSO OJO BEING CAPTAIN INSTEAD OF MURRAY WALLACE…
GA:
I think Murray is such a conscientious player and team-mate. When he gets the armband, he wants to ‘be’ the team. It’s a great attitude to have but I feel in the last two games it might have affected his performances, so I wanted him to just concentrate on his football. When he does that, he’s a superb player for us. Giving it to Funso, he’s always got good ideas on the game, is motivated, has been a captain before and it doesn’t change him at all. He’s certainly a leader and it was so we could get the best out of the individuals and the team. We have good young players, with some good experience in between it and learn as we go along each week. We will learn from today.

ON NEAL BISHOP’S INJURY…
GA:
I don’t know at the moment, no. I haven’t spoken to Michael (McBride, head of medical services) at all because we were in the heat of the game. It’s not often Bish comes off injured and to see him go off on a stretcher is a worry. Hopefully, fingers crossed, it’s nothing major but we’ll just see.

ON CAMERON McGEEHAN’S IMPACT…
GA:
I know what he’s like as a midfielder, he wants to maraud and bomb forward. But it was a game which required a bit of discipline with the shape we had, and he did that really well. We know we have a good player in there without a shadow of a doubt.

ON MOVING ON TO THE NEXT CHALLENGE AGAINST SOUTHEND THIS WEEKEND…
GA:
They’re gutted, there’s no getting away from the fact we’re all upset and haven’t picked up the three points after playing so well. But after Saturday’s performance, as I said in my programme notes, it’s about looking forward. We’ll take loads of positives from tonight but also need to learn from some of the things we can do better. We always look to the next game, the past is in the past and we have a tough test ahead of us on Saturday against a new manager. We’ll have to go there and play like we have tonight to give ourselves the best chance.



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