Tis: Team Togetherness Saw City Through

Grecians boss reacts to FA Cup success

EXETER CITY manager Paul Tisdale was full of praise for his side after they comfortably beat Port Vale at St James Park this afternoon.

Jordan Tillson’s first goal for the club was followed by Ollie Watkins' finish a minute from time to secure the victory for the Grecians, sealing progression to the Third Round of the FA Cup for the first time in over ten years.

“I’m just absolutely delighted with the way we played,” Paul said. “It was a fabulous performance and a great result and we’re very excited of what might come out the hat tomorrow night. We had lots of challenges coming into the game with the injuries that we’ve been dealt over the last week or so, so it was a bit of a Rubik's Cube about how we were going to play. Whoever I selected today had to play their game and had to play in their way. Everyone ran forward and everyone ran back, and we had a really good team performance.

“I’ve played all sorts of systems and I described it to the players as a sort of school yard swarm. You think back to when you played in a school yard, you’re chasing the game and that’s sort of how we did it, all the players got close to the ball, reacted quickly and that’s how I painted the picture.

"Those midfield players today are normally wingers; Holmes, Grant and Nicholls would ordinarily play on the flanks, but they did a really good job today playing slightly out of position. They had to do things differently in terms of defensive work but they all managed to have an attacking threat. Everyone did their job. They had a brief and they played to it and I’m just very, very pleased for all of them.

“1-0 is a precarious scoreline, no matter how well you’re playing. What gave me confidence was how well we were playing, we were expecting after half time that the pattern would change and I warned the players that whatever you think of the first half, it’s not likely to be the same as the second. We kept doing the same and the energy and the tempo in the forward thrust of the side was good.
“We didn’t really give them as much of a chance but at 1-0 you know a thirty-yard shot can fly in, or a set piece can get knocked into the box and anything can happen. We wanted the second goal and every time we missed something and got closer and closer, it was like don’t be this day where we concede a late goal. Ollie Watkins broke away and made two or three chances, and fortunately we got the goal from one of them. It’s a really, really good result for us and a complete performance in many ways.

“The Cup is one of those competitions where the home advantage gives an extra dimension to the way you play, and there was just something about our supporters today, again. We can all look forward to the draw now, and while everybody is of course going to be discussing and debating for certain draws, we’ve got to concentrate on our league form for the next month, and get as many players back fit as possible, because we can’t cope with losing many more. I’m going to be on the bench before long - that’s the way it’s going!

“Whatever comes, I’ll let everyone discuss it and give their opinion, but I’m just delighted with the way the team played today. It was a real team performance, with that word, ‘team’ written all over it.”