Paul gives verdict on Rotherham result
Following Exeter City’s 4-1 loss to Rotherham United at the New York Stadium, Grecians manager Paul Tisdale was frank about his team’s performance.
City were trailing from the first minute as Ben Pringle lashed home a shot from outside the area, and the lead was extended to three goals in a crazy couple of minutes before the half-hour mark was reached. But while the game had disappeared out of sight early on for the Grecians, Paul was somewhat satiated with the mental and physical resolve and positive play that the players showed in the hour that followed, which they will aim to carry forward into the three remaining games of the season.
“There’s life in us. We played the final hour of the game sensibly and with a fair bit of guts, and certainly showed some quality and composure,” said Tis. “Having suffered that early blitz, we did well to keep it at that three goals, because we certainly couldn’t afford for it to be any more goal-difference-wise.
“I’ve not lost my temper with it – they overpowered us, it’s as simple as that. We did our best.”
One positive to take was the introduction of Anton Rodgers into the fold, who came on and impressed in the closing stages. He replaced Tommy Doherty in central midfield on the 70-minute mark, and was always offering for the ball and showing trying to thread passes to unpick the defence.
Paul continued: “There were two aspects to that – one was that Tommy was our best player today and it was too important for us to not risk him in that last 20 minutes, in risking a yellow card, another injury, or suffering fatigue or something.
“But also I’ve seen Anton in the last two weeks and he impresses me more and more – he’s a very good young player and he fitted the scheme in the second half. It gave me an opportunity to see him in that situation and he did really well.”
So looking ahead to the trip to Kingsmeadow this weekend to face AFC Wimbledon, Tis has cause to retain optimism despite the recent setbacks. In the second half in particular, there was plenty of evidence on show that all is not lost yet and to give the Grecians hope that they can wrestle back the all-important play-off places that they have fought so hard all season for.
“I like the players I’ve got, but I know they’ve got limitations. We’re trying to get the best out of our players, and it didn’t work that way today. We just have to hope we get a goal that turns our fortunes and the psychology of the players.
“But there’s life in us – at half-time today, it was a bit of a juncture because we could have gone and lost that by five or six and capitulated – but we didn’t, we kept playing our football. Were we going to get back and draw 3-3? It would have taken something monumental and with the experience in the side, it was unlikely.
“We certainly played with some strength of mind when they were still feeling bitter about the first half. It could be a turning point – the season could have been gone for good, and it’s not gone for good. We’ve got decent supporters who have travelled that have stuck with the team, so well done to them as well. So onto the next.”