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28 September 2005 : Thommo's Verdict on the Southend Game
Caretaker manager Steve Thompson rued his side's performance in the last 25 minutes of last night's 4-1 defeat against Southend United. Speaking immediately after the game, Steve answered the following questions:

Qu: Steve you must feel very hard done by the 4-1 scoreline?

ST: Yes, at 65 minutes we were the better team but then we had a deflected goal. But I was very annoyed by the way that we played for the last 20 minutes after that deflected goal.

Qu: What do you think went wrong in the last 20 minutes?

ST: There's lots of things that I have said to the players in the dressing room. We didn't get tight enough and Southend were getting runners in, either with the ball or without the ball. That was annoying as we had looked so competant for 65 minutes, had the better chances in the game. I know teams get their tails up when they score a goal, but to lose 4-1 at the end is obviously extremely disappointing and I've told the lads that.

Qu: To be fair, it was an impressive performance for the first 65 minutes, especially in the first half where Yeovil came out of the blocks really quickly. You must have been pleased with how that went.

ST: Yes, I was very pleased with the first half, including the goal and the chances we created. We were definitely the better team in the first half. I was even pleased with the first 10 or 15 minutes of the second half but when the goal went in, it just seemed to change the whole game.

Qu: How big a blow was it to lose Efe Sodje? It was a great challenge that injured him in the end.

ST: Yes, he's a great defender and he was doing a good job. I think he was only on for about 15 or 20 minutes. Colin Miles came on but unfortunately Colin began to feel ill five minutes before kick-off. To be fair he came on and did quite well despite feeling ill and wasn't at fault for any of the goals. But he was feeling so ill by the time he came off that he just had to come off.

Qu: What about Pablo Bastianini? Was that tactical or did he pick up a knock?

ST: He did pick up a slight knock, but at the moment Pablo is playing the game well in the first half but is fading badly in the second half. I think we need to do a lot of work on his fitness for that second half so that we can get extra time out of him.

Qu: You seem quite upset with the players - would that be fair to say?

ST: Upset with the players? No. The players gave me everything on Saturday and they gave me everything during the first 65 minutes of tonights game. Now I'm not saying that they didn't give me everything during the last 25 minutes of the game, but I need to look at that and work out why it went so wrong in the last 25 minutes. So no, I'm upset with the result, but I'm not particularly upset with the players. I need to look at the video and analyse why that last 25 minutes was such a bad one for us.

Qu: Finally Steve, do you expect to still be caretaker manager by the weekend, or will you be the actual full time manager?

ST: I don't know. The talk with the board is ongoing and I am just taking it as it comes. Obviously results will matter won't they? Saturday's game is obviously very important, not only for our position in terms of getting three points, but it is obviously very important that we get up the league. It's going to be a very important game on Saturday.

Qu: Would you like it sorted out sooner rather than later?

ST: Yes, you always like things sorted out sooner rather than later because whilst there is uncertainty you have different pressures upon you. But I am sure that myself and the board will be talking either this week or next week to try and sort the situation out.

Qu: You've had the euphoria of Saturday - this is now the flipside of management.

ST: You're right - it's a very tough job and it's all about getting results, having the players play for you, and obviously what decisions you make when the players are on the field. I know that and I am fully aware of that. Those three things go into getting successful results and tonight we haven't. On Saturday we did. What's important now is that I analyse what went wrong and try and make sure that we play on Saturday like we did in the first 65 minutes and not like we did in the last 25 minutes.

Qu: Is it fair to say that a manager does his hardest work after a defeat rather than after a win?

ST: Yes, but you still analyse it after a win as well. I analysed Saturday's game quite a lot. But certainly I will have to analyse tonight a lot and see if I can pick out the reasons why that was such a turnaround.

Qu: Would you rule out a mental strength issue there in that a lot of what seemed to go wrong in the last 25 minutes seemed to be on the mental side rather than necessarily physical?

ST: I'm not sure that it was mental. Obviously when a team goes 3-1 down then a look of despondancy can set in. But I'm not sure that it was mental. I did ask the players to be mentally strong at half time as well as physically strong. It might be other reasons. It might be tactical reasons or one player not quite in position but I need to look at that. But I wouldn't say at this moment in time that it was a mental problem in that last 25 minutes.

Qu: You're just caretaker at the moment. As time goes on, that's obviously a strain on you as you are a staff member down as you have lost Gary and no-one has come in to replace him. Might you look to bring in someone else in the interim? You're doing everything at the moment!

ST: Well I am getting help from Stuart Housley, the physio Glen Schmidt and from Maurice O'Donnell. In the short term it is going to carry on that way. Obviously the discussions with the board are essential for sorting that situation out. You wouldn't want to do it all for too long. But at the moment I am quite happy to do it all and I am not seeking that as an excuse in any way for tonight's performance.

Qu: And you've got Len Bond helping out on match days?

ST: Len has been a great help and has done fantastically well with the goalies this season. He has a very good rapport with the keepers and we wanted to bring him here tonight. He can analyse Wealey's performance a lot better than maybe I can as a goalkeeper.

Qu: He started working with you at the start of the season?

ST: Yes, very soon after. I think he's been with us for around six to eight weeks now.

Qu: How is David Poole? We've been missing him for a couple of weeks and I gather he has had flu.

ST: Yes, he had a knock a couple of weeks ago when he couldn't play. Then he had an illness early last week and only came back into training on Friday. He trained well today and obviously he'll be in contention for Saturday.

Qu: What's Efe Sodje's injury?

ST: Sodje's injury was a kick to the achilles tendon. It has stiffened right up. Hopefully that is all it is - a kick to the achilles tendon and I'm hopeful he will be fit for Saturday. Although if you looked at him walking out there at the moment, you'd probably think that he might not be.

Qu: Kevin Gall? How close was he?

ST: Kevin Gall wasn't too close to playing tonight. He has got a slight tweak on his hamstring and it is not something you can take a risk with because if that goes fully you are talking five or six weeks.

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