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WHITNEY PRAISES PLAYERS AFTER ‘DESERVED’ WIN

20 February 2017

Four straight home wins for the Saddlers...

Jon Whitney praised his Saddlers players after his side’s “deserved” 2-0 victory over Peterborough. 

Stoppage-time goals from ex-Posh playmaker Erhun Oztumer and the returning Kieron Morris earned Whitney’s men a fourth successive home win. 

The result moved us to within four points off the play-off places – and the 46-year-old felt his team got the result their performance merited. 

“We broke really well at times and overall I thought we deserved it,” Whitney commented. 

“We knew it’d be a tricky one because they’re not bad – they’ve got some good technical players and on their day they can be game changers. 

“It was important we didn’t give them the space and my players stuck to the game plan really well. 

“It was a good spectacle for the neutral, an end-to-end game. 

“We said it might take until the last few minutes to score today because it was such a close game between two really good footballing teams.

“Kieron came into the side and did well, and when all of your players are getting seven’s and eight’s out of ten then you end up getting wins.” 

There was controversy and confusion over the Saddlers’ opening goal, as Oztumer’s in-swinging corner crept in at the near post. 

Posh keeper Luke McGee, who appeared to palm the ball into his own net, was furious – claiming for a foul by Amadou Bakayoko – but Whitney felt there was nothing wrong with the goal. 

“I know Erhun was claiming it, but Ama’s challenge made the goal,” he added. “I’ve seen it three or four times and it looks like the keeper palmed it in. 

“Ama’s challenge forced it – but it wasn’t a foul, it was a really clean jump from Ama. They can fight over whose goal it was!” 

Our impressive run of home results started with a thumping 4-1 win over in-form table-toppers Sheffield United. 

The Saddlers switched to a 3-5-2 formation for that game – a system we have used in every match since – but Whitney feels it’s his team’s work ethic that has really made the difference. 

“That Sheffield United game has got to have been a catalyst because they were on such a good run,” Whitney added. 

“To beat them 4-1 and produce that kind of performance was very pleasing. 

“You can talk about the shape but for me it’s the energy. All fans want to see is energy on the pitch – players who try. As long as you put a shift in, fans will stay with you. 

“I think in the past we’ve been a bit too safe but now we’ve stepped out of our comfort zone and that comes from playing together, working together for longer periods and trusting each other. 

“There are probably a couple of factors [behind our recent form] – but for me it’s the work ethic.”

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