Interview : Russell Slade : 18/11/2007
Russell Slade talks to the BBC after the 2-1 win over Gillingham
Russell Slade
Russell Slade
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Yeovil Town manager Russell Slade talked to BBC Somerset Sound's Drew Savage after the 2-1 win over Gillingham on Sunday 18th November 2007.

RS: We wanted a big reaction and I think we got one by and large this afternoon. I thought the conditions were obviously going to play a major part. But I felt we dug in there and began to play a bit more percentage football and play in their half in the first period and I thought we created two marvellous opportunities to go 2-0 up.

I thought we deserved that and it was only after half time when we came under a little bit of pressure from Gillingham. They missed a header and then they had one shot which Mildy flicked over, which he should flick over but then I felt we grew into the game again. We got the goal which I thought we thoroughly deserved at that time. I thought that was our best spell of the game in terms of constant pressure. We managed to get the goal but we didn't really turn that into a second one until young Walker came to the fore, went inside, played a one-two with Justin Cochrane and then fired home with his left foot which was a great finish and it deserved to win the game. It's nice to be on the end of a victory in the closing stages because we've been on the wrong end of it sometimes this season.

DS: You had Darren Way making his comeback for Yeovil Town. I thought he had a good performance as well.

RS: Oh yes, he was a revelation. I thought he was tremendous for us. It's all about his enthusiasm. It's one thing getting close to people, but it's another thing putting them right under pressure and that's exactly what he does. He goes that extra two yards to get close and we need more of that type obviously to boost us a little bit. But that was a big positive. Both Darren Way and James Walker. James has made the one chance in the first half, he's made the one that we scored from and then he's scored one himself. I thought that for a young boy that was fantastic.

These aren't easy times. I think the Sky man pointed out to me that half the squad is Under 20. With these young players that we've got in the team and obviously we've got a lot of injuries as well, but I felt we still showed that we've got quality and we deservedly won a football match.

DS: It's usually at this point that I'm asking you how is someone because he's gone off injured. I presume Gary Dempsey was tactical, so it's a clean bill of health for everyone?

RS: I think so, yes. There was just Lloyd Owusu who needed half a dozen stitches in the top of his head. We're getting used to that aren't we? Obviously, Gillingham will maybe see that as a turning point in that they lost their centre-half and we were able to keep Lloyd on. But it was very important that we kept Lloyd on because I only have a young player that can fill his boots on the bench right now - the young Frenchman. So it was important that he got back on the field.

DS: There is the sign of a good partnership developing between Lloyd and James Walker.

RS: Yes, although don't forget Paul Warne because I thought he was tireless up front. I thought he worked exceptionally hard. James has that little bit of quality in beating a man which you need at times, like Marcus Stewart can, in a different way, open a game up and give you a goal. Since he's been here, all James has lacked has been that final end product. He played so well against Swansea but without getting that end product. Hopefully this will move him on in a positive way now because he has finally put some icing on the cake.

DS: Looking around the ground on the final whistle it looked as though a lot of the tension has been cut and has gone away. Is that the same in the dressing room?

RS: Yes, there is a certain amount of relief. Also we really want to get going and we really want to kickstart our season. It didn't look like it was going to happen when they got what I thought was a fairly fortuitous equaliser. But those things happen when things are not going well. We showed tremendous mental strength to come back again and that was important.

DS: What was your take on the goal. Were you happy with the defending?

RS: Well, you're never happy are you, when you're conceding a goal, particularly from a set play. I think that Lloyd and Terry were trying to head it away so the endeavour was there, but perhaps it was a bit misguided. The ball has come off our player and then nearly gone past Mildy and then it's gone on to Dickson. So it was a little bit fortunate for them but it got them back in the game. That would have been a travesty if we hadn't taken the three points.

DS: The difference being that someone stepped up to the plate and got the winner.

RS: Yes, absolutely right. It's nice to score two goals at home in front of our home fans. I think they were relieved. There is a certain amount of relief but we are still building here for the future. There was never any panic. We've now gone top half of the table as we've gone 12th with that win. And we're now only three points outside the playoffs which is ridiculous.

Qu: What did you make of the weather conditions?

RS: They were awful and very difficult for the players. At one stage the game may not have gone ahead. It was very much 50-50 in the referee's opinion. But I think the rain just stayed off enough to get this one played. But it might affect our pitch for the future because obviously it has cut up very very badly today and we're going to need a lot of surgery on it I think.

Qu: That 13 minute break as well was very difficult for the players' concentration.

RS: It is, but I thought we came on well after that actually. That's when I thought we had a half-decent spell during the first period of the game. It's not easy for the players to get back into the game again, but I thought our focus today was good.

Qu: Have you ever had a break that long in the middle of a game?

RS: I can't think of one, I have to say.

Qu: With Walker you obviously knew he had that quality and you've been just waiting for him to get that goal.

RS: Yes, he's shown me it in training. We saw glimpses of it at Swansea but he just didn't have that end product. Today he's found that end product for us and I am delighted for him. He has worked hard for it. I've give him his opportunity. Sometimes with a youngster you have to wait for a game or two or three before they show something. So we've been patient with him as well and he's got his reward today. He needs to build on that now.

Qu: How long have you got him for?

RS: Until January, initially. If he continues to take that form into there, then we will look to extend it of course.

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Next Interview : 24/11/2007 : Russell Slade talks to BBC Radio Bristol after the 1-2 defeat against Millwall
Previous Interview : 11/11/2007 : Russell Slade talks to BBC Radio after the 4-1 defeat against Torquay United
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