Walsall Head Coach Matt Taylor was pleased with how his team performed against Sky Bet League One side Doncaster Rovers and has challenged his players to replicate that performance against Forest Green Rovers on Saturday.
The Saddlers bowed out of the Carabao Cup on penalties after a 0-0 draw at the Banks’s Stadium.
Taylor’s side created a number opportunities in what he thought was a strong and encouraging display from his players.
“I was extremely pleased with our performance,” Taylor said.
“We were dominant in possession; we were dynamic out of possession and I thought that our use of the ball was better than on Saturday. The team performance was strong, it’s just that final detail.
"We’ve hit the post, Conor’s had a good chance he just couldn’t stretch for so there’s not really anything I can be disappointed with other than losing on penalties. I think the challenge now is replicating that performance in the league.
“The players looked stronger, they came on stronger and they’re getting better. If you look at our performance at the weekend and compare that to Tuesday, I think there’s an uplift in what you’ve seen so that’s really positive.
"Other players have had opportunities to play in the team and it shows you again that competition for a starting jersey on Saturday is high, which is what we want. We want players that are going to drive each other on. They’re disappointed but I told them not to be because I’m really pleased with the level of performance they produced.”
The game was decided by a penalty shootout that went to sudden death as Doncaster edged through 4-3.
Saddlers goalkeeper Carl Rushworth pulled off two excellent saves in the shootout.
Taylor was impressed with his performance and backed him to make some saves in the shootout.
“He’s been practising a lot of penalties and I said to him before the shootout that I think he’ll save at least two,” he commented.
“One’s hit the bar and he’s saved two so disappointed that he’s not on the winning team. I think you see the level of confidence that he has as a young goalkeeper and a young footballer.
“He’s upset that he’s not on the winning team but the first person the players went up to in the dressing room was him, to acknowledge his performance. I thought during the game he pulled off one or two magnificent saves but that’s his job and he understands that and he loves it so we’re very fortunate to have him.”
Attention now turns to Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two clash with Forest Green Rovers at the Banks’s Stadium.
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