Donacien: Cup Rotation Has Benefited Me
Sunday, 24th Nov 2019 17:28
Blues right-back Janoi Donacien felt Town were unlucky not to claim all three points from Saturday’s 2-2 home draw with Blackpool. The 26-year-old, many observers' pick as the Blues' man of the match against the Tangerines, also believes he has benefited from manager Paul Lambert's policy of rotating his team for cup matches.
“I felt like we had the game,” Donacien said. “I felt for their penalty, he’s made the most of it and we had the bulk of the chances. I can’t even remember them creating much. I felt like we were just unlucky, to be honest.”
Donacien, who was making his first League One start since August, helped get the Blues off to a great start, sending over the deep cross which eventually led to Gwion Edwards’s eighth-minute goal.
The St Lucia-born defender was pleased to have contributed to the goal but less so as it didn’t lead to three points: “Yes, but we didn’t get the win. We’ve got to go again on Tuesday.”
Regarding the two second-half penalties - on at each end - he added: “I think our one, I can’t even remember it, to be honest, but for their one the first contact came [from Luke Woolfenden] and he’s ridden it and then the second one [from Luke Chambers] he’s just jumped over it so they’ve given a pen.”
Donacien said he was in no doubt that left-back Luke Garbutt would convert the Blues’ spotkick: “Garbs has got a wand of a left foot. He steps up, no problem for him.”
Does the on-loan Everton man practice penalties in training? “Garbs does everything, takes goalkicks and all!”
Despite not claiming the victory, Donacien says the mood in the dressing room after the game was positive.
“The boys are good, not getting down, there’s nothing to get down about,” he insisted. “We’re in this, we still believe we’ve got the momentum on our side and we’ll just keep on going.”
The former Accrington man says he can have had no complaints about being out of the League One side given the Blues’ form.
“The boys are winning, it’s a team game so I was happy for the team,” he said. “But when my time comes I just want to take it and hopefully put on my best side.”
Kane Vincent-Young came in towards the end of August, signed from Colchester for £500,000, and made a terrific start to his Town career.
“Exactly, you’ve got a good player who has come in and done really well, scored as well,” Donacien reflected.
“I take my hat off to him, he’s done really well. We’ll just keep this going between us and hopefully the team just keeps getting better.”
Vincent-Young’s groin operation has seen Donacien given his chance in the league having featured in the cup fixtures.
“It’s about playing games, you know?” he added. “When you play games your form improves. The more games you play, the better.
“Everyone just wants to play, that’s the main thing and as soon as you get your chance you have to take it. If you don’t take it, then you’ve got no arguments. Hopefully everyone can take their chance when it comes their way.”
Donacien says he has benefited from the opportunity the rotation policy for cup games has given him and has - as manager Paul Lambert has repeatedly said is his intention - enabled him to get up to speed for when he was required in the league.
“They have because it doesn’t matter how much training you do, how much running you do, unless you’re playing games then your fitness is just going to deteriorate,” he said. “So the games in the Leasing.com Trophy have been very good for me personally.”
Donacien was among Paul Hurst’s summer-of-2018 signings from the lower leagues, the former boss paying Stanley £750,000 for his services.
He started the season in the short-lived boss’s team but then didn’t feature in the Championship under Paul Lambert before rejoining Accrington on loan in the January.
Does he feel fans didn’t see the best of him last season given the club’s struggles? “I agree with what you say at times, but then what can I do? If you don’t get picked to play, you don’t get picked to play.”
Lambert said last season he viewed Donacien, who had been a young player at Aston Villa under his management, as a centre-half rather than a right-back. Does he feel Lambert was perhaps judging him on their time together at Villa Park when he first took over at Portman Road?
“When I left [Villa] I started to play right-back,” Donacien said. “It could have been a bit of that. He said to me last year, ‘Just go out and play games and come back next year refreshed’. So, hopefully that’s what I’ve done.
“And then obviously Kane’s come in and done really well, I can’t say anything, can’t knock him, he’s done really well.
“Hopefully we’ll just keep the rivalry going between us. I’ll push him on, he pushes me on, that’s how it goes.
“When you’re a good team you’re supposed to have competition for all places and I think that’s what we’ve got in every position right now.”
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