Joey Barton has given his reaction to Saturday’s narrow defeat to league leaders Luton Town on Saturday.
A stunning free-kick in the first half from George Moncur was the only thing to separate the teams in a tight first half.
Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu was able to double the visitors’ lead in the 49th minute, which was enough to cancel out Paddy Madden’s late finish in second half injury time.
See below the key quotes from Joey’s post-match interview…
On his team’s performance…
“The performance was really, really pleasing considering that they are on a long unbeaten run sitting top of the pile. You don’t do that at this stage of the season by luck. They’re a very good side, very well organised and a side that everybody in the division is aiming at.
“Anybody at the game today will know we are moving in the right direction without a shadow of a doubt barring a mistake and a wonderful bit of quality from their boy from the free-kick.
“We were arguably the better side, created more opportunities, controlled certain phases of the game really, really well and played some good stuff.
“So, whilst I don’t feel we were as good as we can be. You have to take into account a really good opposition who obviously can disrupt you, but I thought are performance today is fitting with how we’ve been over the last five or six weeks. Saying that, it’s disappointing to lose a game of football.
“We are aiming to be a side like Luton Town and do what they’ve done so far this season. I’d expect them to go on and seal automatic promotion over the next couple of months, but it was a good test for us to see where we are as a club and where we are as a team and again I think most of our lads, although will be disappointed with the defeat.”
On the timings of the goals conceded…
“Goals five minutes before half-time and five minutes after, especially when you’re knocking at the door are disappointing. You’ve got to police them zones and certainly at the start and finish of halves as it’s vital to winning leagues and winning promotion.
“They are a side that’s settled, a side that’s really into their flow in terms of confidence and momentum but if you came into the stadium today you wouldn’t think that was the case. It was a very evenly matched contest and the one who got the first goal was probably the more likely to go on to win it.
“But I thought the lad’s response to that was excellent, we are probably unlucky in the end. Paddy Madden thinks he should have hit the last chance over his shoulder first time.
“So yeah, disappointed with the result but really pleased with many aspects of the performance, we’ve got hard work to do but it’s re-affirmed to me that we are absolutely on the right track to what we want to achieve at this football club as a group.”
On the late push for an equaliser…
“Paddy [Madden] as he is will always get you goals, we create opportunities and we service the box. The likelihood is Paddy will pop up and provide the finish to the end of one of those moves. I just think we’ve got to be a little bit braver, we’ve got to trust ourselves a little bit.
“But as I said to the lads in the dressing room, that comes with winning games. They’re on a 20-game unbeaten run and that confidence comes from that. Their opportunities were limited by us.
“I look forward to a week’s hard work on the training ground and then another good test for us at Burton away on Saturday.”