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Wilcox reacts to Crawley game

1 February 2020

Russ Wilcox provided his reaction to iFollow Iron after the Iron’s 3-1 loss at Crawley Town on Saturday.

Scunthorpe were 2-0 down within 20 minutes, which left the side with a mountain to climb.

United conceded just before half-time too, but Wilcox was pleased with the response in the second period, which saw Kevin van Veen score from the penalty spot.

Speaking to the press after the game, Wilcox said: “We threw the game away in the first 20 minutes for me. When you come to places in League Two you know what they’re going to do, they’re going to get the ball forward. Especially when they have players in the team like Ollie Palmer. You’ve got to deal with that, deal with first balls and second balls, but we’ve not done that.

“Silly free kicks have cost us dearly and I’m really angry about that to be honest. We spoke about it before the game. The last time I was in charge, every game we conceded less than 10 free kicks we won with a clean sheet. So that just shows you how many goals in League Two are scored from set-plays.

“The first two goals came from set-plays – the second one is a second phase but it doesn’t really matter because it’s an opportunity to put the ball in the box. You’re then 2-0 down away from home. They have their tails up and we’re on the back foot.

“Again, in terms of game management, we then conceded right before half-time.

“The response in the second-half was much better. We got on the front foot and played some really good football, having them camped in and worried. They couldn’t get the ball off us at times, and it’s about creating chances, which we did.

“We had six shots on target to their four, but there were also ones flashing past the post too, while Kev had a couple of chances which you’d probably expect Kev with his quality to finish.

“It could have been a crazy game that we ended up getting something out of, but you can’t give teams 3-0 leads. If we’d nicked a second goal with 10-15 minutes to go, it would have created a nervy finish.

“There has to be a mentality change in terms of wanting to defend, and needing to defend, and not just playing on the front foot all the time. We’ve got to be better without the ball as a team, which is difficult with the players we have because we have lots of good offensive players at this football club. You try to set up to be offensive and maybe outshoot teams, but you also have to be solid at the back and we certainly weren’t in the first half today.

“With it being transfer deadline day, we didn’t know the team until 11.05pm last night because you always worry you could lose more. It has been difficult to take over in this period. We couldn’t do a lot of work on shape as we didn’t quite know the team due to that. We have a free week first team-wise now to work on things towards next week’s game (against Cheltenham).”

Speaking about this week’s events and taking charge of the team for this game, Wilcox continued: “The chairman has been very transparent regarding it. We’ve had the first game now, and I have a meeting with the chairman on Monday to look at the next step. Whether I get another game or someone new comes in, I can’t tell you.

“I’d like to carry it forward, I must admit I’ve missed first team duties with the atmosphere, the buzz, the crowd, but I’ve also enjoyed the Under-23s role. We have a really good set of lads and I’d like to think we’ve improved them over the course of the season.

“The Under-23s is the way the chairman wants to go and I totally agree with him regarding that. We’ll change the (Under-23s) squad next season and get better players, and hopefully better facilities too, to keep moving it forward and hopefully three or four of those players can do really well. We feel it has worked well this season and hopefully next season it can get even better.

“We’re back at it again on Monday, with two Under-23s games this week and next week (in addition to the first team). It’s all hands on deck, but we’ll get on with it.”

See much more from Russ Wilcox and Harrison McGahey on iFollow Iron. Click here to sign-up.


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