Skuse: Frustrated But Not Downcast
Monday, 21st Oct 2019 11:00
Midfielder Cole Skuse says the Town dressing room was frustrated rather than downcast after Sunday’s disappointing 2-0 defeat at Accrington Stanley which ended the Blues’ unbeaten start to their League One campaign and reduced their lead at the top of the table to one point, although with a game in hand on second-placed Wycombe.
“It’s not downcast, it’s frustration because of the manner in which it’s happened,” Skuse said.
“It’s not as if we’ve played really well and just not got the rub of the green, we were poor in the first half especially.
“In the second half we had them penned in but they had something to sit on, they had a two-goal lead. It’s just frustration about the manner in which we’ve done it.”
The Town vice-captain says he was dismayed to have lost the match, let alone the undefeated run.
“Disappointed to lose the game, not just the unbeaten start but to lose any game is a huge blow,” he said.
“But it was what we deserve, I think. We didn’t start the game, we’ve not done things today that we’ve done in the previous 11 games to get us to the top of the league.
“Why was that? You can’t use an excuse that we’ve come to Accrington, we knew full well before the game what we were coming in to, the lads had a bit of taste of it last season when they came here in the FA Cup.
“It’s a tough place to come, we know what they’re about and there’s no excuse. We just didn’t start the game well enough to get ourselves a footing in the game to then play the football we want to play, we just didn’t start the game well enough.”
Town have now gone 21 matches without a win following an international break, but the 33-year-old says the weekend off prior to Sunday’s match oughtn’t to have had an impact.
“I don’t look into things like that, to be honest,” he added. “Granted, we would have liked to have played the game [at home to Wycombe] last week due to having a bit of momentum but I don’t think the break’s been a real hindrance on our performance.
“The lads have been flying all week in training, even in the warm-up before the game you can get a sense of whether we’re bang at it. It was just one of those games where we didn’t start the game well enough.
“And it’s a really tough one to swallow because we’re flying at the top of the league and some results didn’t really go for us yesterday, the gap was closed a little bit - granted we’ve got a game in hand on Wycombe and a couple in hand on some others - and it would have been brilliant to come here on TV to lay down a marker and we haven’t.”
Town were without Flynn Downes, James Norwood and Kane Vincent-Young due to injury and James Wilson as he was suspended but Skuse believes the squad should still have been good enough to beat Stanley.
“They’re quality players to be missing,” he said. “They have made fantastic starts to the season, they’re all top drawer players but when we’ve got the depth that we’ve got you’re looking at replacing them with an international player in Andre Dozzell, who is a fantastic player, we’ve got Gwion Edwards who has come in, Judgey and Kayden up top, it’s a squad full of quality in depth.
“And it’s no individual’s fault today, as a group we just didn’t perform in the first half enough to give ourselves a footing in the game and before you know it we were 2-0 down.
“Granted, I think in the second half it was a goal [when Luke Woolfenden’s effort was blocked], I think it went over the line and if that was given with 20 minutes to go, it’s a completely different ball game.”
Was it worse that it was live on TV? “No, on TV, not on TV, we’re just concentrating on getting out of this league. If it’s on a stage, it’s on a stage, if it’s not, it’s not, we just want to get out of this league.”
Skuse says that while it would have been nice to continue the league unbeaten run for as long as possible, perhaps even for the whole campaign, even the best sides lose on occasion.
“We would have loved to have gone the whole season unbeaten but football’s football, it happens," he reflected.
“It happens to the best of teams. You look at Man City, for them to go unbeaten’s a tough, tough gig and for us to do it would have been really tough. But just the manner in which it’s happened, it’s harder to take.”
The former Bristol City man says there’ll be no overreaction to what was the Blues’ first league defeat since April.
“No, no, no, no. It’s football, it happens to the best of them, he continued. “There’ll be absolutely no panic stations whatsoever, we’ll be dusting ourselves down today and tomorrow and we’ll be going again on Wednesday.”
The Bristolian felt Armando Dobra’s league debut red card for his second-half clash with Accrington defender Ross Sykes was harsh.
“I’m not going to come on here and start digging out officials because it’s a tough gig at any time but it’s not a sending off,” he added.
“I’ve not seen what happened before, I’ve just the lad’s put his arms up to Dobs and throw Dobs to the floor.
“Dobs has come in after the game and said he’s not [done anything to warrant the red card], he’s an honest boy. It’s not a sending off.”
Skuse says the 18-year-old was distraught after the match: “He is because he’s come on and he’s done really well. He had an effect for us, he changed us, I think he turned the game around for us a little bit. And, like I say, he’s a great kid, a very honest boy and he’s a great player.
“So, on TV, to come on and to be sent off unfairly it’s a really tough one for him to swallow. But he’ll bounce back, he’ll be fine.”
Looking ahead, Skuse says it’s good that the Blues quickly get back to action on Wednesday when Rotherham, who are 11th, are at Portman Road.
“It is, we’ve not got a whole week to sit on it,” he said. “And being Wednesday as well against a tough side at home under lights, it’s the sort of game we relish, so we’ll looking to make amends.”
He added: “It is a real test. Obviously we played against them a couple of times last year, we know what they’re about. They’re going to be a good side. It’ll be a really tough one but something we can deal with.”
Meanwhile, the Blues could be up against a familiar face next Saturday when they travel to Southend with ex-defender Hermann Hreidarsson reportedly in line to be named their new assistant manager with Sol Campbell expected to become the Shrimpers’ new boss.
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