Fleetwood Town 0-4 Burton Albion
Interview with Graham Alexander
Town beaten at home to Burton Albion
Fleetwood Town manager Graham Alexander was left to rue the decision to send off ‘keeper Scott Davies as his side suffered their heaviest Football League defeat to date at the hands of Burton Albion.
Town were on course for at least a point before referee Gary Sutton dismissed Davies for an alleged foul on Jacques Maghoma and subsequently awarded Albion a penalty from which they broke the deadlock.
But Alexander felt that the correct course of action had not been taken and explained his decision to focus his side’s attention on going forward following Burton’s opener.
“I think the ref got it wrong. I don’t think we defended it how we should have up to that point, but the lad dived – simple as,” he said.
“It’s a double blow when the ‘keeper gets sent off and then they score the penalty. We thought the game today had 0-0 written all over it – it was routine and we weren’t pulling up any trees. It was a bit of a stalemate and then that was the turning point in the game.
“We’re going to get games when we haven’t got that spark and the football isn’t flowing but as long as we’re competitive and organised then we’ll go through the season picking up results. But when something like that happens to you, then there is nothing you can do.
“We opened up a little bit, especially after the second. Losing 2-0 or 3-0, it doesn’t really matter – you lose, so you might as well go for it and fight for at least a point.
“We want to be competitive in every game. Even when we’re down to ten men we want to try and create chances.
“To be fair, going forward I thought we did ok after that. We actually created some opportunities but obviously they hit us on the counter-attack.”
“You make a 50/50 decision,” he added. “Do you stay compact and strong, lose 2-0 and accept that, or do you go out and try and do something about it?
“For me there is only one way – you’ve got to still try and rescue something from the game. You’ve got to take a risk but it didn’t work today. On another day it might and hopefully on another day we won’t get a decision that takes us down to ten men.”
The Town boss was determined to focus on the positives from the game and praised his side for their never-say-die attitude.
“There were players out there who put a lot in. I’ve just spoken to the lads in the changing room – I’m not going to rant and rave at them and question them, because I thought the effort was there for everyone to see.
“We weren’t firing on all cylinders in the first half but we looked comfortable, then the whole game changes on one decision. It’s difficult but I don’t think the lads gave up. I think they kept going to the end which is majorly important for me. I’ve just said that to them.
“I don’t want to see any player on the pitch with a Fleetwood top on giving up, even if it’s 4-0 or 6-0 or whatever. You’ve got to keep going right to the end to show what sort of personality and character you have, and that’s what they did.
“The lads know that the downfall was a bit to do with ourselves as well because we should have defended it better. The lads played it professionally – we’ve gone over it and what can you do?
“We lick our wounds, we take what’s coming to us over the weekend, but we stay strong as a group. We go into work on Monday morning, we analyse the game and then we concentrate on the game next week.
“When we win games we analyse and go forward, when we lose games we do exactly the same thing, so I expect all the lads to be raring to go on Monday – training hard, fighting for their place in the team and showing what they can do next week.”
Town face another long trip at the weekend, this time to Aldershot Town, but Alexander will be looking to continue his team’s good run of results away from home and admits he will be glad of the midweek rest ahead of the journey.
“We need that full week,” he said. “We’ll look after the lads and we’ll do the hard work on the training pitch as well because there are still things we need to improve on both going forward and defending; I’m not going to blame it all on one thing.
“But that will be an on-going thing no matter what the result is on Saturday. We will be doing that week in, week out. This doesn’t change our focus on what we want to achieve this season and we will just carry on going forward.”