Richie Wellens praised the support and patience of the Swindon Town fans after his team’s 2-2 draw with Lincoln City.
The Robins went in at half-time against the league leaders trailing by two but there was an understanding, around the ground, that Town had been by far the better team.
A positive half-time team talk followed before Michael Doughty’s introduction proved the catalyst for a comeback against the nine-man Imps.
Wellens believed that the fans’ understanding and support was important in aiding his positive message.
“Usually, if the whistle goes at half-time and you’re 2-0 down, what happens? The home fans boo. But the fans here are knowledgeable. They knew we were the better team.
“So, the biggest thing for me is that the fans didn’t get on the players backs.
“We’ve come in, we give them a positive message, we tell them; ‘listen, in the first 35 minutes, we’ve been unbelievable against 11 men’.
“We stressed to them that if we score the next goal and if it’s 2-1 with 20 or 25 minutes to go, then we can win the game.
“With 10 minutes to go, I still want to win the game, but you’ve got to equalise first.
“I think we’ve equalised a bit too late, but there’s a melee in the box right at the end and you’re waiting for the net to ripple.
“You take a 3-2 and everyone leaves the ground with unbelievable belief.
“But still, 2-0 down at half-time and it ends 2-2 against a really strong, resolute, physical and probably the best team in the league at managing a game.”
Wellens implied that Town could have stolen all three points had it not been for the persistent ‘game-management’ of the visitors.
“On Monday, the headline will be ‘Lincoln hold on for 35 minutes with nine men.’ It’s not 35 minutes because the ball is going to be in play for 12 of those 35 minutes.
“I’ve never seen a goalkeeper dive from 15 yards to collect a slow rolling ball. It’s a bit ridiculous, isn’t it?
“They managed the game well. They wasted a lot of time and we have to trust the referee to put more than six minutes on the board because they probably wasted about 15 minutes in the end.”