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REACTION: Williams Assesses Sheffield United Defeat

14 March 2017

Town Head Coach Luke Williams answered questions from the local media in the wake of his side’s 4-2 defeat to Sheffield United at The County Ground on Tuesday evening. Here are the key points from what he had to say…


ON THE RESULT AND PERFORMANCE:


“There were some terrible mistakes and it was a real shame because we did so many good things, but there were a couple of big mistakes and it is tough and very, very hard to take.


“Sheffield United are a fantastic football team and they are absolutely a cut above for this level.


“The manager is brilliant and he’s got them very well organised, they are relentless and they’ve got real quality.


“I’ve seen a team with quality over the years in Sheffield and the players didn’t always produce, but they are doing that now and they were excellent.


“We tried to go toe-to-toe with them in the first-half and they were better than us and we struggled to contain them, but we did create some chances and I thought the longer the half went on the more it looked like only United were going to be able to do anything.


“The second-half was very different.


“When you are where you are (in the table) the pressure is immense and the confidence takes a shelling, but it is my job to keep finding a way to motivate the players and to give them key information and to try and push them on in the right way and to encourage them.


“The fans first and foremost want to see us win and if we don’t win then the next thing we have to do is show that we are running around for them hard, if we’re in a tackle we want to win it and if we want to jump for a ball then we take a knock in the air.


“They want to see us with endeavour but they want to see us leave everything on the pitch and work so hard for them to show our appreciation for them coming to support us.


“It is fair to say the players did that and they have been doing that in recent weeks.”


ON WILL HENRY:


“The boys want to play and play and once you get there you have to take the opportunity and there is no hiding place.


“We know Will is very talented and he had a fantastic debut and some good games and he has to learn from this.”


ON JON OBIKA’S ROLE:


“I spoke with Ross (Embleton) at half-time and he suggested to make a diamond with Jon higher up and Ben Gladwin in the middle behind two strikers - it worked fantastic.


“Charlie (Colkett) scored a brilliant goal because there was more space there and more players occupied with Nicky (Ajose), Jon and Ben being in-front.


“Then, of course, Ben picked up the ball in that position just off the front-two and, I haven’t seen the replay yet, but I have a sneaky feeling that we scored a legitimate goal that was disallowed and it would have been a very, very good change if that was the case and we maybe would have got something from the game.”


ON UNITED’S PENALTY:


“We had to throw everything forward because there was no time for us to sit back and see how it pans out.


“We had to push everything forward.”


ON TEAM SELECTION:


“Unfortunately at this stage, I need to know that people are absolutely committed to this fight and it is the minimum requirement.


“We owe that to the fans that come here who pay money and take the time and effort to come and watch us.


“If we’re not good enough then we’re not good enough and it is incredibly difficult to accept, but if we’re not trying hard enough then we don’t even know if we are good enough.


“That is not acceptable and it not acceptable to not be 100 million percent committed to the cause and it is not fair on me, the staff, the other players and, most of all, it is not fair on the thousands of fans who come through the turnstiles that people are absolutely not giving every single thing for this cause.


“I questioned that so Lawrence Vigouroux, Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill and James Brophy were removed from the squad.


“I have reason to very much believe that they were not prepared properly for this game.


“They lost to the two teams below us before this game, yes we played well at times and maybe deserved more, but we didn’t get more and we lost.


“We then played the best team in the division at the moment and people are not looking after themselves and are not prepared for this fixture.


“It is not acceptable for me and it is certainly not good enough for the Swindon fans.


“There is some people in the changing room who will hold their heads up and know that they are trying everything and are living their life responsibly to show their respect to the fans.


“If you are not doing that then I need to take you out of the team.


“You are below the dotted line so knuckle down, show more, sacrifice, give up some things and give every single part of you to the cause and then, if you aren’t good enough, then accept because it is part of life.


“But to not try is not fair on the people who come and watch us.”


ON FIGHTING UNTIL THE END:


“We were two goals down against the best team in the division and we took the game to them, but another stupid mistake left us fighting to get back on terms.


“If we can have that attitude and cut out the mistakes then we can beat anybody in the division.


“I will fight until the very last moment.”


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