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Dutton left hearbtroken after Cambridge defeat

8 March 2021

Walsall Head Coach Brian Dutton was left heartbroken after his side conceded in the 94th minute against Cambridge United but he was proud of his team’s display.

Paul Mullin’s 25-yard strike saw the U’s snatch three points right with virtually the last kick of the game.

Dutton admitted his team needs to be more clinical but he couldn’t fault his players for their effort and performance.

“I couldn’t have been more pleased with the lads for their attitude and application,” Dutton said.

“To come to a team like Cambridge who are in the top two and be the dominant side, put it on them and come away with nil-pois is heartbreaking to be honest, I’m gutted for the lads.

“They’ve only let me down once this season and that was against Bradford. That was chalk and cheese from the Bradford performance so it’s a real bittersweet day.

“You can pick the bones out of it until the cows come home but the bottom line is, everything up until that final third. We need to be that little bit sharper, more confident and pull the trigger.

“We need to get on the training field, it’s no secret that we need to sharpen up in the final third and create more opportunities, which I think we did but we’ve got to be more clinical.

“Whether that’s the final pass or the positivity of getting at your man and creating an opportunity, that’s got to improve.

“I’m not going to give the lads too much criticism after that, I’m proud of them to be honest.”

After expressing his disappointment with the team’s performance against Bradford City, Dutton has seen his side battle to a 0-0 draw away at Exeter City and showed plenty of positives against high-flying Cambridge.

He insists that if the Saddlers can continue producing similar performance levels as they did at the Abbey Stadium then results will come, particularly after a number of players impressed on the day.

“I think you could name all the team that was positive in their play,” Dutton commented.

“From Caolan Lavery getting hold of it, Josh Gordon’s runs in behind, (Emmanuel) Osadebe getting hold of it and Sam Perry, 19 years of age and his second EFL start – phenomenal.

“Max Melbourne has ran himself into the ground out there, tough game for him coming back from an injury.

“Tyreik (Wright) has come on and influenced things, the back three have done what I’ve asked of them and Liam Roberts has had nothing to do. All his work that he has done coming for crosses and distribution has been a high level.

“I said to them, look lads, that is why you need to be at the top of your game physically and fitness levels.

"Up until the 93rd/94th minute, you’ve done everything that we’ve asked of you and that last minute where you just switch off for a second and you don’t quite get up to the ball and squeeze the space they have a one in 100 shot and it goes in so absolutely gutted but those performances don’t worry me, the Bradford performances worry me.

"If they keep giving me that, the luck will turn and we’ll keep moving in the right direction.”

Attention now turns to Friday evening as the Saddlers host Barrow at the Banks’s Stadium. Watch the game live on iFollow by purchasing a match pass here.

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