Royle berates his players

SAME old – same old. Joe Royle once again berated his players for disgraceful defending which left them too steep a mountain to climb.He groaned: "Our attitude to defending is not right and it's borne out in our statistics.

SAME old – same old. Joe Royle once again berated his players for disgraceful defending which left them too steep a mountain to climb.

He groaned: "Our attitude to defending is not right and it's borne out in our statistics. It is not just the back four. We have been involved in about 112 goals in our games. We are the highest goal scorers in our league with 60 but we are also the leakiest defence. If you like nil-nils don't back us."

Town were hit by two goals in three minutes as Glen Little and David May exploited Town's slack marking.

Royle said: "It was an abysmal first half and we just weren't in it.


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"We got to 3-2 and then had good chances to equalise, the fourth goal was academic really as we had so many men forward.

"But you can't give teams a two-goal start. It was poor marking again, especially for the second goal from a corner where he has a free header, a luxury we never seem to get. No one reacted from the keeper's save for the first goal. And we were leaden-legged all over the park."

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Royle tried to freshen the team by shuffling defenders but it back-fired.

He said: "Matt has needed a rest. He has done outstandingly well when he has been in. I put Drissa there but it didn't work, particularly when we had to try and go and win the game.

"I then took Drissa off, not because he was particularly worse than the rest but he is not going to get you a goal or create anything for us, so it was a tactical change.

"It worked better with Jermaine (Wright) at right back and the second half was at least even."

Royle took a calculated risk in playing Fabian Wilnis, who recovered from a shoulder injury quicker than expected, but the Dutchman had also suffered an ankle injury during training.

Royle said: "Fabian was not quite right. I could see he was not moving as he should. He trained for three days so it seemed right to put him in. He will be better with an extra week's recovery."

Although Town had travelled up the night before, the manager felt the arduous coach journey did not help their cause. He feels a few days active rest in sunnier climes this week will help towards freshening the squad.

He said: "We are desperate for the break we looked tired first half.

I'm not making an excuse but six hours on a coach doesn't help, although Burnley had the same thing when they came to us, so it is an aside.

After years of getting the better of old friend Stan Ternent Royle conceded it was the Burnley boss' turn for success.

He said: "Stan was due a result like that against me and I'm pleased for him. But Burnley are decent – they are far better than their position and there's no worries about them being involved in anything at the bottom end. They are too good for that.

"They have the likes of Little and Blake, who are outstanding at this level and would get in most teams in this division."

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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