Exeter City manager Matt Taylor says his team are in a good place but will need a 97-minute performance if they are going to beat Northampton Town on Saturday.
The Grecians fell to defeat 3-2 in the semi-final of the Leasing.com Trophy against Portsmouth on Tuesday night.
However, having named a youthful side, sprinkled with some experience, for the match and come very close to beating one of the form teams in League One, Matt says the players will be using that performance as fuel to spur them on for the remainder of the campaign.
“If that group of players, ever need more encouragement about what they are capable of, then they just have to look at Tuesday night,” said Matt. “Nobody gave us a chance before the game, but we believed in that team we selected.
“We believed that we would have a good go and have a chance in the game and we came so close to doing so. It shows our strength in depth. It shows the strength of the next crop, the next generation coming through to effect the first team and it shows that we are going in the right direction. You can never guarantee success in football, but if we keep playing like we have been, in the last few weeks and Tuesday especially, with all heart and endeavour and energy towards what is needed in a game, then we give ourselves a chance of being competitive.”
City also go into the match on the back of three straight victories in Sky Bet League Two, a run that has taken them level on points with Swindon Town at the top of the table.
However, despite being in a good place, Matt says they have to learn the lessons from their last away game at Macclesfield when, despite dominating the first half hour, they let the opposition back into the match.
“The team is in a good place at the moment, but it is all well and good going into a game being in a good place, you have got to stay in a good place throughout the game,” he said. “We spoke about that after Macclesfield, where we started well and were excellent for the first half an hour, that counts for nothing if you let a team back in the game. It will take a 96 or 97-minute performance this weekend to get anything from the game.
“We want a constant performance in terms of an eagerness to get to the ball, affect the ball and win as many first contacts as we can and play when it is on to play. Hopefully the conditions are settling down a bit in terms of the weather. It was absolutely brutal last weekend and the lead up to that game as well, so hopefully it will be a nicer day to play football.”
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