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SMITH: "I COULDN'T HAVE ASKED FOR ANY MORE"

2 September 2015

Gaffer upbeat despite Morecambe defeat...

WALSALL manager, Dean Smith, was pleased with his players’ performance despite losing 2-0 to League Two Morecambe in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last night.

The Saddlers – last year’s beaten finalists – spurned a whole host of opportunities and were undone by two superb second-half strikes from Jamie Devitt and Tom Barkhuizen.

The defeat was our first of the 2015/16 campaign and ended a run of six successive victories in all competitions.

Speaking after the game, Smith expressed his frustration with the result – but admitted that he couldn’t fault his team’s efforts.

“It’s disappointing to go out of the cup,” said Smith.

“Performance wise, I couldn’t have asked for any more; it was a really good performance.

“We had a taste of cup success last year in this competition and we wanted to do well.

“The difference today was that we didn’t take our chances.”

Smith made six changes to his starting line-up for the Saddlers’ first-ever trip to the Globe Arena – and the gaffer was encouraged by what he saw.

“We made some changes, with players going on an international break, so it was an opportunity to give the likes of Matt Preston and Liam Kinsella a game," said Smith. "All the lads did well.

“Matt’s a very good player; we all know that at the football club. It’s a case of easing him in. He’s been on loan to a number of clubs and done really well. Now he’s maturing and pushing James O’Connor and Paul Downing.

"But there were good performances all round, and it will have done the lads – certainly those who haven’t played an awful lot – the world of good tonight.

"I’m disappointed (to lose) because we wanted to go far in the cup again but I can’t complain with the performance."

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