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Musselwhite reacts after Exeter encounter

24 October 2020

Goalkeeping Coach Paul Musselwhite provided his reaction to iFollow Iron after taking the team for Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Exeter City.

United impressed in tough circumstances but conceded twice at the end of the first half. Jai Rowe scored at the start of the second period to get the Iron back in the game, but the Grecians finished things off with a minute of normal time left.

Musselwhite said: “I think the boys are very positive after the game. They know they put in a very good performance under the circumstances, but we have lost again. Conceding another three disappointing goals, so we need to remedy that.

“It's been difficult circumstances. I don’t think a lot of people know what goes into the preparation of the game but I’ve had a lot of help from Stanno (kit manager Nathan Stanton) and Jordan Clarke (club captain) taking training as well.

“We’ve all mucked in. The lads have taken on board what we’ve said to them and I think the performance, especially attacking-wise has shown that.”

Discussing the current COVID-19 situation, he said: “It’s not ideal preparation. Even yesterday when we knew what team we had, what players we had. We then lost two of them on the bus on the way down.

“I doubt we're the only team in this situation, it’s probably happening around the country and will happen for a lot more as the season goes on.”

Focussing on the game, Musselwhite said: "We were probably on top (at the time of the goals), which is probably more disappointing. We’ve tried to get into the lads how quickly Exeter break as well and we dealt with it up to the goals.

“Once again, the goals from my point of view and from having spoken to the gaffer are disappointing.

“I think for a lot of the game we were the better team. It's about what happens in both boxes and it's not happening in our box and probably attacking-wise were not getting the rub of the green.”

Talking about the young players in the team, he commented: “Jai Rowe has done very well, even though he’s only had one other senior appearance.  

“Both he and Manny (Emmanuel Onariase) did well in there and kept us in the game until injury time.

“It's not like they were all making their debut, everyone had played in this league. All we said is you’re going to play a game of football against 11 other people. There was no pressure on them.

“We’ve got a very young squad this season and I think everyone’s seen that and it's difficult at the moment even when everyone’s fit. Anyone who’s coming in at the moment is saying to the gaffer that they can do a good job.”

Reflecting on the positives, he said: “Everyone that played for today has given a good account for themselves and has given the gaffer a few headaches for the next few games.

“These things are sent to test us. The lads who came in stood up and gave a good account for themselves."

He also provided an update on Rory Watson and Abo Eisa, saying: “Rory and Abo both have injuries at the moment, which doesn’t help preparation along with the coronavirus. Picking up the two injuries late in the week and losing two people on the bus as well was difficult."

Looking towards the next game on Tuesday night against Salford City, Musselwhite said: “I know we’ve got players hopefully coming back into the squad later in the week.

"They’ve been training today at the ground and hopefully going into next week we'll have a stronger team."

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