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Archived News from September 2003

JOHN TAYLOR REACTION: `We Weren`t At The Races`
29th September 2003 20:30

JOHN TAYLOR REACTION: "We Weren't At The Races"
Cambridge official website

John Taylor looked back on an eventful match against Mansfield and labelled it an "awful" performance in a game that had everything except points for his team.

Clearly disappointed and annoyed at aspects of the 2-1 defeat, especially a needless sending-off for Dave Kitson that will rule the U's leading scorer out of three games next month, Taylor summarised the performance in searingly honest terms: "We were poor in the first half, that's the worst we've played and we weren't at the races in the first half.

"In the second half it was eleven v nine and we expected to have lots of possession, which we did, we had some chances that we didn't take, and if we'd scored the penalty we would probably have gone on and won the game but we missed that.

"We gave away a stupid penalty, then we got a goal back and had one or two good chances after that - Luke had a great shot, Veno had one - but we didn't use the ball well enough in the second half in terms of creating chances.

"When you're eleven v nine they should never get out of their half, and you certainly shouldn't get involved in anything that gives them a chance to go ten v nine. We should just keep playing, get the ball wide, but we didn't get enough quality balls in the box. If you're going to get wide and just sling the ball in high, the goalkeeper and the two centre halves are going to come and get them. That's not what we're about."

Referring to Kitson's dismissal for a clash with Liam Lawrence after he and Terry Fleming combined to bring the Mansfield midfielder down, Taylor commented, "I don't know what Dave Kitson was doing for the sending-off - waving his arms, whatever he was doing - it was stupid and I absolutely can't defend him for that."

Asked about his half-time team-talk in preparation for 45 minutes against nine men, he responded, "I told them at half-time to get the ball wide, keep playing, probe into the front and work off the front men in and around their box, but we didn't do enough of it in the second half.

"Every time Veno (Mark Venus, pictured) got the ball wide he was looking for people on the edge of the box and for people to play off, and as soon as we did get a bit of that play Terry stepped on and smashed one in.

"That's all you've got to do. You've got to work your numbers in good areas of the field but in the second half we lacked certain amounts of discipline. When their little quick striker got the ball once in the second half he was five yards inside his own half and there was no one near him, and it was just - you might say the word is frustrating.

"We were awful in the first half, we got a little bit better in the second half because we were playing against two less people, it evened up slightly when Dave Kitson (right) stupidly got sent off, but the game had everything except any points.

"Everyone likes goalmouth action but, as I said earlier, but if you just sling the ball into the area you're not going to get anywhere. So you've got to probe, you've got wait for your chances, but I thought we were sloppy on the ball.

"When we had possession and we did the right things in the right areas we looked like we were going to create things, but too often in the second half we were just slinging it in and that won't get you anywhere when people are sitting in deep and it's hard to break down."

He made a change at half-time, bringing on winger Shane Tudor for the more defensively-minded Freddie Murray, and explained, "There was no point in keeping four at the back when it's eleven v nine so we might as well push on.

"We had three at the back and five in midfield with two wide players. We got the ball to Tudor and Bimson as the wide players and they did quite well with it - the ball came to Tudes on the right hand side quite often early on - but there was no real quality into the box."

Asked if he is glad that the next game and a chance to put things right in front of the home supporters is only three days away, the manager responded, "We'll see. We'll rest their legs tomorrow and get back on the training ground on Monday because we need to do some more work, and we'll take it from there."


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