Graham Alexander has paid tribute to his players after Fleetwood’s resounding 4-1 victory over Torquay United on Saturday.
Coming off the back of their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy victory away at League 1 side Tranmere Rovers, Town recorded their biggest win of the season so far with Antoni Sarcevic scoring his first goals since joining the club in the summer as well as Jamille Matt and Matty Blair adding further goals.
Elliot Benyon could only add a consolation goal in the 89th minute for Torquay, and following the game, Town’s manager said Fleetwood were ‘fantastic’ throughout the game.
Speaking to www.fleetwoodtownfc.com Alexander said: “For 90 minutes, I thought we were consistent throughout the game.
“There were spells through the second half where we have come off them a bit but that was understandable when we was winning 3-0.
“Over the course of the 90 minutes we are really happy, I thought the lads’ application was fantastic today and we are just delighted with the three points.”
Fleetwood could quite easily have scored more goals in the game, but for Martin Rice, who pulled off a number of saves to keep Fleetwood at bay – notably stopping goal bound efforts from Nathan Pond and Jeff Hughes – before Sarcevic broke the deadlock in the tenth minute.
“He was fantastic, he made some fantastic saves, ones where you have got your head in your hands because you think it is a goal all the way and you think is it going to be one of those days, but I thought the lads showed great belief in themselves, carried on going and got the break through.
“We stepped up little after that and showed confidence after getting the goal. It was a very pleasing first 45 minutes. The message at half time was to keep the tempo up, keep going and not to settle.
“One nil is a dangerous score and Torquay are a dangerous opponent. If they get a goal back that gives them the belief and we didn’t want that to happen. They did get a goal, but it was two minutes from the end and the game was won.”
Despite the fine attacking display by Town, Fleetwood were unable to come away from the game with a clean sheet after Benyon’s strike and although Alexander was left disappointed, he was insisted he was pleased with how his players reacted to the goal by not only going up the other end to score again, but by their reaction in the changing room after the match.
“It could have been dealt with. We were disappointed because we have got defensive pride. What is great for us when we came into the changing room was that the lads were arguing about the goal and are disappointed with it.
“That’s brilliant, because that is the sort of standards you have to set. It was a great goal by their lad, but we could have dealt with it better before then.
“We responded in the right way by going up the other end and getting another goal ourselves. It was fantastic play by Bally, a goalscorer in the box, frustrated at not playing and he still squared for his team-mate, which is pure team work and it was a fantastic effort by everyone involved today.”
Blair’s goal was his first Fleetwood goal since he joined the club from York City in the summer, and after a slow start to his Cod Army career, Blair’s performances have improved and Alexander has been pleased with the winger’s progress over the past few weeks.
“He’s really picked it up. Blairey had a dip when he first came but in the last few weeks he has been great on the training pitch and in the games.
“It was a difficult one for us because after the game at Tranmere we had more than 11 players that could have played today and no one deserved to be dropped.
“The support from the rest of the players who weren't involved today was fantastic and it’s great to be apart of that, it’s great to be within that group. That will stand us in good stead for the rest of the season.”
After missing the 2-0 defeat at AFC Wimbledon last weekend and the mid week victory at Tranmere, Sarcevic returned to score his first goals for the club in a fine individual display, but Town’s manager was left praising the individual performances of all of his players and believes his team has all the ingredients to be successful this season.
“He’s a goalscorer, both Jeff and Sarc are, they link well together, they get forward and are very positive in the final third.
“They can only do that with the framework of the team around them and I thought everyone did their individual jobs yesterday.
“It was something we spoke about before the game, that’s what makes individuals play when they do their own jobs and I thought everyone did that.
“I thought Schumacher behind the two was fantastic as well and that was probably his best game for us. He gives us a composure when we are on the ball and an experience head.
“To be fair I could go through the whole team and talk about individual performances because I thought they were fantastic.
“We have now got to keep our feet on the ground, go into training this week and work just as hard as we have done last week and hopefully get the same sort of performance against Bury.
“We can only go one game at a time. We were massively disappointed after the Wimbledon game, just with the second half performance and the lack of belief.
“The lads responded great on Tuesday against Tranmere and followed it up again today. We have got 20 players all pushing each other for a place in the team, when they don’t get it, they support each other and that’s what successful teams do.
“We want to be successful, we are not successful yet, we are only a few games into the season so we have to maintain the work rate and that sort of spirit. If they do that then it’s up to them what we achieve this year. It’s great to be apart of and to be within that group.”