Alexander says each player 'put in everything'
Graham Alexander showered praise on all of his players following Fleetwood’s 1-0 win away at Portsmouth by saying “every single one of the lads put everything they had into the game.”
The win was Town’s fourth consecutive win in all competitions and subsequently moved Alexander’s side up a place to second in Sky Bet League 2.
Sonny Bradley was accredited with an own goal after Jamille Matt’s shot was saved by John Sullivan in the Portsmouth goal and ricocheted off the defender and over the line for the one and only goal that decided the game in the 67th minute.
Speaking to Cod Army Player following the game, Alexander said: “We had to work hard for it without a shadow of a doubt.
“Every single one of the lads put everything they had into the game, from my perspective, I thought we did enough to win the game, but that was a tough task.
“We had fantastic vocal support, there are some great players in that team, and I thought we dealt with the so-called occasion, what with coming to an arena like this, excellently and I thought the lads played some great football attacking wise and we also looked really solid.
“It must have been a fantastic feeling for them; I am guessing the supporters are feeling just as ecstatic as the we do because we haven’t got massive numbers when we come to massive clubs like this, but what we do have is a loyal support.
“We feel that loyalty very strongly and we want to work as hard as we can to give them the rewards and it is great to see them come all this way.
“On occasions they follow us everywhere, and we do go everywhere, but they were great. It was occasionally hard to hear them over the other 14,000 thousand, but we could see them and you could hear them at the end because we had won the game, the home support was quiet and our support was cheering.
“It was just a game for our team and I thought the lads just played the game and didn’t play the crowd or the stadium and I thought they were fantastic from start to finish.
“It didn’t go all our way; we did have to defend at times, which was part of the job, but when we had too we did it well. We didn’t concede to many cheap free kicks and we caused them plenty of problems.”
Fleetwood muted the pressure of Portsmouth’s front pairing of Patrick Agyemang and David Connolly and Alexander praised his defenders and the work rate of his squad as they kept their third clean sheet of the season and the first since the 1-0 win over Hartlepool United on August 24.
“I played with Pat (Agyemang) at Preston and I played against (David) Connolly when I was playing and they are two really hard strikers to mark.
“They have got a great partnership going, they link up really well, but I think the discipline showed by our back lads was great and I thought Schuey protected them really well.
“The work rate from everyone was fantastic and we know we have got ability so we have to match it with the amount of work we have to put in.
“We are really pleased the lads got a clean sheet today, which I thought they deserved over the past couple of games but we didn’t get it.
“I am really pleased, it was a great away performance, we are looking good at the moment and we just have to maintain that type of commitment throughout the week, day to day and take that again into next Saturday.”
Although Portsmouth controlled most of the possession, Fleetwood again dominated the shooting stats after managing 16 shots over the course of the game and Alexander admits he has been encouraging his players to make things happen in the final third.
“Sarcevic had a couple of opportunities where the lad has tipped it over the bar and Jeff had a header just go over.
“It’s great because we encourage the lads throughout the week and into games that in the final third we have to have an end product.
“We will never have a go at anyone for having a shot, crossing the ball or making a run into the box, because at the end of the day that is what football is all about, scoring goals.”
Jamille Matt started up front as Alexander stuck with the same side for the third consecutive game and despite an injury he picked up earlier in the game, Alexander was pleased with how the forward handled himself against the physical presence of Bondz N’Gala and Bradley before being taken off.
The Fleetwood manager also reserved praise for David Ball following his introduction in the second half and insisted the winning mentality within the squad is shining through in games.
“He worked his socks off and he got great support from the wide men and from Sarc and Jeff as well. He was up against two big centre halves and they weren’t giving him an easy time, but he didn’t give them an easy time either.
“I was just about to bring him off because he was feeling his groin from an earlier challenge and he managed to force his way into the box.
“I didn’t see how it went in the goal, but he causes problems. I took him off straight away and I thought David Ball was fantastic when he came on as well; he was a great threat in a different way.
“He came into the pockets and used his footwork to bring others into play. It was a great effort by everybody today.
“Without a doubt everyone we will continue to use the squad and players will come on in games and keep their spots.
“It’s a squad game, that is the modern game now, and we have got the hard working type of squad who believe in each other and have a great camaraderie and we have to maintain that and the players have to maintain that.
“That wins you points when you sometimes don’t play well, like at Hartlepool, I think that was a winning mentality that got us that, and I thought we added that sort of mentality to some good football and I am really happy with three points and it keeps us on a good run.”
Fleetwood have a week to prepare for the visit of Exeter City next Saturday, and Alexander added: “We are not going to lose our focus, its another three points, that’s all and we will focus and we will begin to prepare for Saturday’s game as soon as we get back into work on Monday.”