Interview : Russell Slade : 09/04/2007
Russell Slade talks to BBC Radio Bristol after the 2-1 win over Leyton Orient
Russell Slade
Russell Slade
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Yeovil Town manager Russell Slade talked to BBC Radio Bristol reporter Ben Orr after his side had come back from the dead to win 2-1 against Leyton Orient on April 9th 2007.

BO: Russell how do you feel after that?

RS: A bit of a relief really. Perhaps your chances and your team are as strong as your bench, and that proved to be the case with the two substitutions we made at half time. Having said that, the other nine players also improved their performances in the second half because in the first period Orient were probably unlucky not to be two or three goals in front.

But it was a different story in the second half and Orient perhaps paid for their misses in the end as we put them under enormous pressure. Eventually we got our first penalty of the season and we managed to convert that. We got a little bit of fortune with the own goal, albeit that it was a great cross. I thought we'd put some good crosses in during that second period, without getting a goal until that stage. It was a big fightback in the second half and full credit to the players for that.

BO: Looking from the outside, the half time substitutions were brave in taking off players like Stewart and Morris and bringing on a couple of youngsters in Barry and Knights. But it certainly paid off for you in the end.

RS: You've got to be brave in this game as a manager. You've got to be thick-skinned as well. The crowd booed us off at half time, but at full time they were applauding. You have to be brave in this game and obviously it was a lot on a young man's shoulders in terms of Darryl Knights coming on up front for an experienced striker, whether it was Lee Morris or Marcus Stewart for that matter. Anthony Barry I put in midfield because I didn't think we were getting a grip in midfield at all and I moved Chris Cohen to a wider position where he played particularly well for the last 10 or 15 minutes at Scunthorpe. So it was all change and fortunately it came off.

BO: In the second half, did you feel the goal was coming? You just kept knocking on the door time after time didn't you?

RS: Yes, you hope that for the amount of pressure that you are piling on that you are going to get something. We've hit the post, we had things flashing across the box and it didn't look as though it was going to drop for us at one stage. But we kept going and more importantly the players felt like they were going to get the breakthrough. We got that with plenty of time to go and we managed to follow it up.

BO: You got a penalty at last - it's been a long time coming! And you could have had two before the one that was actually given today.

RS: Yes, there were two or three decisions. Skivo feels quite strongly about one push on him. It hasn't gone our way this season in terms of penalties. It has taken us 42 games to get one and it couldn't have come at a better time, could it?

BO: We can probably have a good guess at your message at half time. I imagine it was something along the lines of play better! At the end of the game, is it a case of keep going like that and we'll be OK?

RS: Well sometimes there is a time for giving your players a rollicking. I didn't think that today's half time was a time for that to be honest. I thought it was a time to be calm and not to panic, but also to put your foot down and make changes and that is what I did. It is important to keep enough confidence to go out for that second period and get out on the front foot and stay on the front foot. We managed to do that.

BO: Knights impressed me. It's the first time I have seen him play. I described him in the commentary as a bit of a Paul Dichov in that he just gets in there, makes a nuisance of himself, doesn't always win the headers but puts off the opposition enough to win a free kick or a throw-in for your side.

RS: Yes, he is not the tallest, but his movement is pretty good. He manages to find a little bit of space for himself and at Reserve Team level he has proved to be a good finisher. He has made a good start. It was difficult circumstances in him coming on, but he managed to take his opportunity and did very well.

BO: How big were those three points this afternoon for you, do you think?

RS: Well we've said, haven't we, that over the past few weeks and months that every game is vital and this one was massively. I looked at the fixture list today and I don't often do that. I looked at the Swanseas and the Carlisles and I half fancied them to get wins, so I thought it was very very important that we got our win today.

BO: And is that the message now today - to keep it calm and to keep it focussed and to keep the mental side of the game focussed between now and the end of the season?

RS: Well it's about getting that balance right as a manager and as a team. There are times when I have let loose at half time - Carlisle was one. But today was not the right time.

BO: Bearing in mind the half time substitutions and the way that Yeovil played in the second half does that give you food for thought as you begin to think about your next team selection?

RS: Team selection has probably been my biggest headache really. Not because we've got too many bodies available but the fact that one or two are not picking themselves when they should be and that has caused me a problem. As I've said, you're only as strong as your bench and I made those changes today from the bench and fortunately we got the success that we needed.

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Other Resources
Next Interview : 14/04/2007 : Russell Slade talks to BBC Radio Bristol after the 0-2 defeat against Bristol City
Previous Interview : 06/04/2007 : Russell Slade talks to BBC Radio Bristol after the 1-0 defeat against Scunthorpe
Index : Main Interview Index


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08/06/2006Russell Slade is interviewed on BBC Somerset Sound's breakfast programmeView
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