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Taylor reflects on Cheltenham defeat and provides update on Holden and Bates

2 August 2021

Walsall Head Coach Matt Taylor was encouraged by his team’s first half performance against Cheltenham Town but admitted his side could have been better in the opposition’s box.

The Saddlers fell to a 2-0 defeat at the Jonny Rocks stadium despite having a number of clear-cut opportunities.

Taylor felt there were positive signs from Walsall’s showing but felt they could have been more ruthless when they were on top.

"Every game and football ebbs and flows,” Taylor said.

“There will be periods when you’re on top and you’ve really got to make those times count. Likewise, when you’re under the cosh and you will be in every game because every team will have a period in those 90 minutes when they’re dominating.

“We’ve got to be resolute; we’ve got stay strong and I thought on the whole we did. The first goal is a deflected goal and the second one’s avoidable but that’s the reality in both boxes.

“In ours we defended OK but I didn’t think we were good enough in their box.

“I thought first half we were really good, we built well from the back but I think what you probably saw was we probably didn’t make enough good decisions in the final third and we’ve come away from it disappointed not to score because as a team, we’ve had seven really good chances.

“The keeper’s made a great save in the second half so positive signs all around. I thought second half at times we could have been braver on the ball but we’ve lost two games this pre-season in terms of they’ve been called off and we haven’t been able to get those minutes into the players that we’ve wanted to so for a lot of the players, that’s their first ninety minutes as well.

“I tried to say to them there that the main focus for us is next week against Tranmere Rovers away from home when the league starts.”

The Saddlers were without Rory Holden and Alfie Bates at the Jonny Rocks Stadium.

Taylor revealed that the duo picked up injuries in training and provided an update on their situation.

“Rory had done the first three and a half weeks of pre-season and was flying; he hadn’t missed a session,” Taylor commented.

“He got an injury on the training ground and unfortunately that’s set him back a bit but he will be back with us, hopefully, very soon.

“Alfie is similar. He’d taken part in every training session but unfortunately for him, picked up an injury as well but both players have come with us, that’s their choice and that shows you the unity of the squad. Even if they can’t be involved, they asked if they could still come and more than happy to do so. I think that really reflects that the boys are really together.

“They’re disappointed they’ve lost the game but it’s the process of pre-season. There were aspects that as a coach and as staff we were really happy with what the players delivered.”

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