Edwards: “The players were on top of their game”

Exeter City assistant manager Rob Edwards reflected on a fine performance to close the home campaign at St James Park and ensure a safe finish in Sky Bet League 2 for 2014/15, as the Grecians beat table-topping Scunthorpe United 2-0.

It didn’t spoil the party for the Iron, who also went home happy – Fleetwood failed to beat Southend, meaning that the Lincolnshire club’s promotion to League 1 was affirmed.

The performance was arguably City’s most complete showing of the season, and if Exeter can produce displays like this on a more consistent basis next season, it certainly gets the pulses racing at the thought of 2014/15.

So Exeter travel to Hartlepool next weekend without concerns survival, and Rob feels that a strong end to this season will be a good base to build on in the next. 

“It’s a relief – we’ve been looking at the league table for a long time and we’ve been getting closer and closer to it,” said Rob.  “It is a big relief, but what a great performance and at the right time.

“We haven’t always played like that with the intensity and the drive, so it was a fantastic performance.  The players were really on top of their game and determined; we didn’t look like conceding, and we were together.

“Hopefully we can take that into next week and it gives us something to look forward to next season.

“There is a high in that we’re staying up and we’ll be delighted tonight, but on Monday morning we’ll look at the league table and think, ‘it’s ending high, but we should do better than that’.

“The players are frustrated at where we are in the league and we all know we can do better, so we’ll take it from there.”

Despite not needing anything from their trip to Victoria Park on Saturday May 3rd, Rob feels that the players won’t be proverbially on the beach when they meet Pools.

Quite conversely, in fact, it is another chance for the Exeter team to prove their potential – the fact that the result isn’t a big factor is purely incidental.

“The pressure is never off when you’re a player – you’ve got to play well in every game, or people say you’re finished, too old or not good enough,” he continued.

“I’ve always seen it that in every game or training session, you’ve got to impress the people that are watching you.

“So there’ll be no stepping off the pedal for next week.  The players will want to impress people and win the game.”

Indeed, Rob is keen that City will be doing their utmost to addressing their shortfalls and looking to areas of improvement.

He also stressed that City’s struggles in the lower reaches of the table this season haven’t been from any lack of effort or care from those involved at the club – quite conversely, the players and management have shared all of the supporters’ frustrations this term, and can now look forward to starting afresh in 2014/15.

“I don’t understand how we’ve got ourselves so close to the bottom, with some of the players we’ve got.  We’re a decent team – we just need to improve in both boxes,” said Rob.

“We need to keep the ball out of our own goal and finish off more chances – I know it sounds basic, but that’s something we’ve got to be better at next year.

“There have been times this year when some of our fans have thought we don’t care – of course we care.  It’s been a tough time for all the staff.  It’s a big relief today, but a lot of people here care about this club.”