Chaplin: The First One is Probably the Most Important
Sunday, 26th Sep 2021 10:50
Blues goalscorer Conor Chaplin was delighted to get off the mark for his new club in the final minute to secure Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday but admitted he nearly fluffed it.
Chaplin came off the bench in the 75th minute with Town looking for an equaliser to Dennis Adeniran's 26th-minute opener for the Owls.
The 24-year-old, who joined the Blues in the summer from Barnsley, believes the point could ultimately prove to be a vital one come the end of the season and was one which his side’s performance warranted.
“I think it was the least we deserved in terms of chances, definitely the least we deserved and it could be an important one, definitely,” he said.
“I think as well for a new team to show personality and to keep going to the end is something we want to have as a personality trait, something we want to be known for.
“It’s never going to be easy, like today, we’re going to be goals behind. You’re going to need goals, you’re going to need moments and one came today and that’s something that we’ll try and build on on Tuesday.”
Manager Paul Cook said afterwards that the progress his team had made was there for fans to see and Chaplin concurs.
“One hundred per cent. I know the gaffer said it as well, everyone knows it’s going to take time, it won’t be a quick fix.
“From a player’s perspective, playing with new players, it’s not just one new person coming into a new team, it’s a little bit easier when it’s like that, but a whole new team and you need time to gel, you need time to understand how each other plays, how each other like to receive the ball.
“In terms of that, it’s obviously a step in the right direction but we just need to keep building as well.”
Reflecting on his goal, he said: “It was a strange one, but they’re the savvy things that you try and do as a striker. I think it’s important to try those things.
“I was talking to Macauley [Bonne] and we’ve probably tried it quite a few times between us in our careers and it never happens, the keeper always looks behind or you always get told. So for it to come off today, it was important for us.”
Cook revealed in his post-match press conference that Chaplin had confessed he’d nearly missed it and Chaplin admitted he didn’t get the cleanest of touches.
“I’ve double touched it!” he laughed. “Usually those ones I do, I don’t know why. The ones that look the easiest are usually the hardest ones for me, I prefer it being instinctive. Nearly, but not quite!”
The one-time Portsmouth and Coventry man was delighted to open his Town goals account with his family at Portman Road.
“It’s massive,” he said. “I think the first one is probably the most important one because if you keep waiting and waiting it’s not very nice, so to get off the mark is good.
“I’ve had a slow start to the season with injury, which has been frustrating. I love football, so it’s horrible to be on the sidelines watching the lads go to away games.
“It’s something that I’m really delighted about, my family was here as well, so it makes it even more special.
“It was my hamstring. I’m as good as gold now, I feel really good, just training every day, working hard to get to 100 per cent really. I had Covid as well in pre-season, which wasn’t ideal. I’m looking to keep building.”
He added: “There’s never a good time for an injury but probably when you’re trying to get settled and make your way in the team and things like that, it’s not ideal to pick up an injury straight away.
“But these things happen in football, you need to understand that. That’s happened now and we’re trying to build on the last two games which have been positive for us.”
Chaplin has started in the number 10 role for the Blues but came on wide on the right on Saturday. Which does he consider his best role? “I’m happy when I’m playing. I’d play centre-half. I’ve got a brick head, so I’ll play centre-half you ask me to!
“Anywhere, honestly. I love playing football so I’m happy to play anywhere the gaffer sees fit.”
Has he got a number of goals he’s aiming for this season? “You always want to hit certain targets which are probably known to all, but I just want to get this club up the divisions, that’s my main target.”
Chaplin says there are plenty of players capable of scoring goals at the club: “The quality in the squad is astonishing. Santi [Bersant Celina] and Wes [Burns] came off today, Sone [Aluko] didn’t even come on. The quality in this squad is probably one of the highest I’ve probably been involved in.
“I’ve been in the Championship for two years and this is probably the highest quality of squad I’ve ever been involved in, it’s something really good for this division, but we need to show it on the pitch as well.”
The Worthing-born forward can understand why some fans are saying Tuesday’s home game against bottom club Doncaster is a must-win fixture for the Blues.
“Yes, but Doncaster have got really good players,” he warned. “I know a few players at Doncaster, there’s never going to be an easy game, especially at this place where teams come here and raise their game.
“But we know that, it’s not a surprise to us anymore. If you’re playing for a big club, you’ve got to expect that, you’ve got to rise to it. That’s something that we’re looking forward to.”
The game against Rovers is almost certain to see Samy Morsy make his long-awaited league debut for the Blues following a three-match suspension from his Middlesbrough days, and Chaplin says the Egyptian international has much to bring to the table.
“I think he’ll bring a lot,” he said. “I think he’ll bring leadership, he’ll bring an example, a bit of bite, a bit of know-how and quality as well, so he’s got an awful lot to bring to this team and we haven’t seen it yet because of the suspension. Everyone’s looking forward to him being involved.”
Photos: TWTD/Matchday Images
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