Chaplin: We're in a Good Place
Sunday, 23rd Jan 2022 11:34
Forward Conor Chaplin believes the Blues are in a good place and if they maintain their current form will be in the promotion shake-up come May.
Chaplin netted his eighth goal of the season in the 65th minute to seal Town’s 2-1 home victory over Accrington Stanley yesterday.
Reflecting on the game, the 24-year-old said: “I don’t think we started particularly well, they were on top and intensity-wise, they were in our half a lot more than we were in theirs in the first 15 or 20 minutes.
“But I think probably after that spell, we controlled the game really well for 45 or 50 minutes into the second half.
“The first 30 minutes of the second half as well, I thought we were really good, comfortable in possession, finding areas, finding the spare man, which we’d worked on all week.
“I think it was good. We could definitely have been better in terms of the first half but I don’t think we’ve come from behind to win many times this season, so that’s a massive thing for us, definitely.”
Town had to battle but the summer signing from Barnsley says that comes with the territory.
“I think you’ve got to expect that in the league every week,” he said.
“You need to earn the right, it’s a very clichéd saying in football but there’s nothing more true - you’ve got to be intense, you’ve got to run, you’ve got to work, you’ve got to battle, you’ve got to win second balls and then you can show quality, and I feel like we did that in the second half especially.”
Saturday was Chaplin’s first start under new manager Kieran McKenna having last featured in the XI at Wigan just over a month ago, although he had already scored under the new boss from the penalty spot late on at Gillingham having come off the bench.
“We’ve been on a great run since the new boss has been in, we’ve won three in four, so hopefully that continues,” he added.
“We spoke about what we need to do to get into the play-offs and things like that, so that’s something that we’re looking at.
“If we keep that form up, I’m sure that will see us to where we want to be come the end of the season.”
Chaplin and Bersant Celina, who also returned to the line-up, played in roles behind and either side of lone out-and-out striker Macauley Bonne.
Asked whether they were given any specific directions before the game, he said: “No particular instruction. Obviously we had a game plan, they’re quite man-for-man.
“No particular instruction but I think at times we showed really good quality today. And I think we showed a lot of grit as well at the end.”
The former Portsmouth man admits it was a match the Blues needed to win, the result having moved them up to ninth, eight points from the play-offs.
“Definitely, in terms of losing games and things like that, we obviously lost last week but you’re going to lose games of football in this league, it’s such a tough, competitive league with so many good teams, it’s just about how we react, we can’t keep on a streak of not winning, which was why getting back to winning ways today was so important today,” he continued.
Having won three in four under McKenna, the Blues need to build on that momentum: “Exactly that. I think the main crucial thing is to kick on, keep picking up points, keep picking up wins and I think other than a blip last weekend, we’ve been in really good form. We performed really well last weekend as well. We’re in a good place, I think.”
Chaplin has been hugely impressed by McKenna since the Northern Irishman took over: “I love him! I think he’s absolutely brilliant. Training’s brilliant and I think you can see from the way we’re playing at the moment, the ideas that he has, the way that he portrays messages to the lads is brilliant. I can’t speak highly enough of him at the moment.
“Potentially [exciting times]. We’ve got to put it on the pitch. We’ve got to show that with results, show that with goals, show that with wins, so fingers crossed.”
Regarding his goal, he added: “I think goals are something that I’ve always had in my game and every time I go on the pitch I’m disappointed if I don’t score.
“I was gutted a couple of games ago when we played Wycombe and I had a chance in the last minute and I hit the post. We’ve been good, we’ve been really good.”
Chaplin praised skipper Samy Morsy for his sharply-taken free-kick - “a little bit of quick thinking” - and Janoi Donacien for his cut-back.
“JD’s brilliant, I’ve got a really good relationship with him, on the pitch and off the pitch,” he said, the pair having celebrated the goal together in front of the Sir Bobby Robson Stand.
“He’s someone that I love playing with, he’s intelligent. When he gets in those areas he doesn’t just hit and hope, he looks up and picks players out and that’s exactly what he did today.”
Photos: TWTD/Matchday Images
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