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Interviews

Hill post-Bristol Rovers (A)

7 May 2022

First team manager Keith Hill spoke to iFollow Iron following the team's 7-0 defeat to Bristol Rovers, as the club exited the EFL after a 72 year stay.

The boss started by talking about how he felt at full time: “Hopeless and helpless with respect to being able to help the younger players. It was a very difficult game to try and manage, but with the young players we had out it was almost impossible, they were just better than us.

“We started the game brightly, conceded an own goal, and then the curve and the momentum of the game changed completely. We were overrun and outplayed, but you hope that the players, especially the young ones, learn from these difficulties. They’re difficult football moments where you have to learn.

“A lot of players got things wrong, and I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus because it’s unfair, but in our situation that was the worst-case scenario to expect. We got a footballing lesson and there’s no doubt about that.”

He added: "It’s the way that I’ve decided to go with the young players to try and give them the experience. I wanted them to enjoy the experience of playing in front of a big crowd against a good side, but from a football perspective they were miles better than us.

“You can see why they’ve been promoted. They haven’t been promoted because they’ve beaten us 7-0 today even though everyone will be suggesting that from Northampton, through to Port Vale, through to anyone else in the promotion pack. The fact of the matter is they’ve done it over 46 games, and we haven’t irrespective of whatever squad of players we have got.

“The terms of the embargo have been ridiculous for us to succeed this season. I think it's quite evident that ourselves and Oldham have been cut adrift somewhat.”

The boss then spoke about this difficult season finally ending, saying: “I’m a fighter, and sometimes you do get tired, but all I want to do now is fight. I want to fight on behalf of the supporters and the football club. I’m pretty wound up and emotional as I don’t like being beaten. I don’t like being beaten to then listen to the opposition celebrating promotion.

“This is the first time that this has happened to me and I’m really gutted for everyone, the supporters included. I wish we could have been in a situation where we went to the supporters after the game and gave them our shirts because they deserve a little bit of a gift, and we haven’t been able to give them too many gifts this season.”

On the summer work ahead, he said: “We have to get cracking. We have to change the culture, and that means a lot of things, not just one thing.

"We have to change the mentality to work and to want to come in, and the desire and determination. We have to change that, and we have to 100 per cent change the losing mentality and losing environment.

“We also have to change players controlling what they do and when they do it. Whether they train, whether they don’t train, whether they want to train, whether they can’t train, whether they’re ill, or whether they’re ready to train.

"It’s been ridiculous, that has to change and that is the culture. We have to make sure that we’re breeding a winning environment, a winning culture and that has to change with personality recruitment.”


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