Carayol: Worst Game But Good to Be Out There
Monday, 12th Feb 2018 06:00
Town debutant Mustapha Carayol admitted Saturday’s 0-0 home draw with Burton Albion was one of the worst matches he’s played in and quickly turned his attention to next Sunday’s live-on-Sky East Anglian derby against Norwich City at Carrow Road.
Carayol, who joined the Blues on a free transfer after leaving Nottingham Forest on deadline day, was one of the few bright spots on a disappointing day for Town, the 29-year-old making coming off the bench just after the hour and coming close to breaking the deadlock with a shot which scuffed the side-netting.
“It was probably one of the worst games I’ve ever played in and it wasn’t fun for anyone watching,” the winger admitted.
“The points are the main thing but personally it was good to be out there and for the fans to see me and for me to meet a few of them. For me it was enjoyable.
“Every time I get the ball I try to be positive and obviously I will have good days and I’ll have bad days but the one thing you will see is I will always try and be positive and make things happen. For me I’m glad the gaffer called upon me and this won’t be the last.”
Regarding his strike, he added: “I was saying to the boys on the bench that if I came on that the first chance from range I was going to take it on. I never really turn down a shot, I caught it cleanly but I wasn’t lucky enough to score.
“That’s not the main thing though, the main thing is the result and getting the point on the board and being unbeaten in two.
“The conditions didn’t really help – they were really hard. You get these type of games in this league and sometimes you have to grind them out and make sure you don’t lose. That’s the main thing.
“We didn’t create enough to win the game and they were probably the better team on the day so you just have to take the positives and be happy we didn’t lose.”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s trip across the border for the derby against the Canaries, he said: “It’s always on Sky so everybody knows a lot about it. The tempo is good, the atmosphere is unreal, so I’m really looking forward to it.
“We’re all going to prepare well, like any other game, and it’s a day for the fans so we are going to try our best and try to get the win.
“I don’t really remember playing in many derbies, to be fair. I scored on my debut for Leeds against Rotherham.
“For me they are just like any other game. The tempo is going to be high and everything so you just have to try and keep a cool head and play your game.
“You can’t really rise to the occasion because then you aren’t playing to the best of your ability so you just have to try and keep a cool head and try to enjoy it.
“When you enjoy it you play your best football and, for me, I’m really looking forward to it, the atmosphere and finding out what it’s really like.
“It’s three points at the end of the day but you just want to put in a performance for the fans.
“I’m hoping it’s going to be a good day for them and we get a good result and a good performance.”
Reflecting further on Saturday’s strike and the possibility of a spectacular derby goal, he added: “I’m sure it won’t be the last the fans see me hit from 25 yards because I never really turn it down if the opportunity arises.
“Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t but I’m just happy to get some minutes under my belt.
“If I do that [against Norwich] I will probably get sent off for my celebration! I’m looking forward to the game but the most important thing for me is putting in a performance.
“I might not play, so I’m just hoping we put in a good performance. If we do that I think we have a chance of getting at least a point.”
Does he feel he did enough in his half hour on Saturday to break into next week’s starting XI? “I don’t know, you’ll have to ask the gaffer.
"But for me I’m enjoying it here, the boys have made me feel really welcome and I’ll be ready whenever the manager decides to call upon me.”
Burton’s former Town loanee keeper Stephen Bywater felt the bottom-of-the-table visitors did well over the 90 minutes and can escape the drop for a second season despite currently being four points from safety.
“Throughout the whole game we played well as a team and kept it tight, which is why they didn’t have a shot on target until very late,” he said.
“We have players that can play in many positions and do a good job. We played well at Villa [where they lost 3-2] as well, so it is not just this game.
“We have done what the gaffer has asked and there has been no lapses in concentration.
“The gaffer has brought in quality with the loan signings. It is definitely game on. We have to play the teams around us and we really believe we can do this.
“It is exciting, this is what football is about. We are getting to the nitty-gritty. We won’t win the league, but we can stay in the league. We are counting down and we have set ourselves target.
“I’m confident we can do it. We are playing like a team that believes and that doesn’t fear anyone.
“We can’t spend millions, we can’t even give a shirt away after a game because we can’t afford it.”
Bywater, 36, made 17 appearances for the Blues in a half-season spell in 2008 when a Derby player.
“I really enjoyed playing at Ipswich,” he recalled. “It used to have a great pitch. That has gone now, it’s an old-fashioned pitch.
“But we played some really good football on it. We moved the ball around well and we kept the Ipswich crowd quiet.
“After the last two games I fancy us against any team, home or away. Their keeper has made a good save to keep a clean sheet and I have kept a clean sheet too.”
Meanwhile, the Blues’ U23s are in action against Aston Villa at Hednesford Town’s Keys Park in the Premier League Cup this evening (KO 7pm).
Trialists Ben Stephens, a striker who is with Stratford Town, and keeper Kleton Perntreou, currently with Welling, are both set to play.
Photos: Matchday Images
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