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Crainey: We can’t start games the way we started it today

15 April 2022

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Head Coach Stephen Crainey spoke to the press after his side’s narrow loss to Oxford United at Highbury on Good Friday.

Fleetwood started out the game on the back foot, conceding three early goals, which gave them a mountain to climb, and it was one they almost did in the second half. Comeback goals from Ellis Harrison and Cian Hayes brought the Cods back into the game, but the visitors held on for all three points.

Here’s what Stephen had to say:

On the narrow loss to Oxford…

"I don't think the situation is getting to the players. Sometimes these things happen in football and it's hard to pinpoint exactly what it is, it was sloppiness on our part to concede three sloppy goals early on.

“We never really made them work for their opportunities which is disappointing, we have to play with the intensity we had for the final hour from the first minute. We will make sure to do that at Gillingham.

“We deserved something out of the game, but we didn’t get it. The second half was much better in terms of the determination from the group, so I’m upset for them, but we can’t start games the way we started it today.”

On the chances for both sides…

“In any game of football, you can’t give a team a three-goal lead, especially a team like Oxford who are up there pushing for the play-offs and are a good side. We reacted too late in the game, but I thought we deserved something out of the game due to the mentality the group showed.

“In the last 15 minutes of the first half, we started to get on top and I said to them at half time, we can get the next goal and if we do, we’ll stand a right good chance in the game. we did that and had a good few efforts on goal, but never got that lucky break to get the equaliser.

“That’s football for you, you’ve got to show that intensity from the last hour of this game in the one against Gillingham on Monday and we need to go there and win it – it’s as simple as that.”

On the run in…

“There is loads of belief that we can stay up, you could see that in the second-half performance, but we can’t give teams leads in games like we did today. We can’t look past Gillingham at all, so we will recover well, get rested up, and be ready for the fight on Monday.

“The reality is it is in our own hands to stay up. But we need to take it into our own hands and win games of football and that’s what we need to do at Gillingham. We need to start on the front foot on Monday, we know it will be a tough physical battle, but we need to have the right determination.

“They’ve got real physical attributes, so we need to stand up and be counted like we were in the second half. We need to fight and we’re going to fight and be ready. We’re disappointed to lose the game, but we can’t be negative, we have to be positive to win games and that’s what we’re going to try and do at Gillingham.”

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