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Sadler praises Oisin McEntee after positional switch

24 April 2023

Club News

Sadler praises Oisin McEntee after positional switch

24 April 2023

Walsall interim Head Coach praised Oisin McEntee after a change of position during Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Salford City.

The Saddlers twice came from behind against 10-man Salford but suffered heartbreak in the 97th minute when Matthew Lund’s deflected strike found the net to hand the visitors all three points.

Sadler felt moving McEntee into midfield gave Walsall a foothold in the game as the team fought back but the interim boss was devastated with the late sucker punch.

“It’s really hard to sum up the emotion and the feel of it,” he admitted.

“First 15/16 minutes it wasn’t quite right. We didn’t get the way we wanted our back three to press, it didn’t work so we had to change it and moving Oisin (McEntee) on into midfield, I thought he was fantastic, absolutely fantastic.

“You’d thought he played there for the whole of his career, he was a real plus, I thought he was brilliant.

“He tired towards the end, which I think you saw with their second goal, just couldn’t quite get there.

“I’m frustrated because a couple of minutes earlier I was thinking about bringing him off but with how well he’s done, you wanted to see how long you could keep him out there so frustration but after we made the change, I thought we did really well.

“We played our way into the first half; at half time it was all about getting more confidence into them. We did well to get to a point on the pitch and then whether it was just that confidence to try and take somebody on, to make a pass or that confidence to have a mate who has come over to help you out, it didn’t quite happen and we spoke about that at half time.

“What you saw in the second half through two or three incredible challenges was a group of lads that were desperate to do well and that continued into the rest of the second half.

“They gave absolutely everything; I don’t think you can question their work ethic. They gave absolutely everything for me, for the group and everything this week has been about togetherness, pulling together with each other and trying to bring it all back in line again.”

Sadler and the team were hurting after the last-minute goal but he hopes the players can learn from Saturday’s match, particularly with the fine details in the game.

“Without doubt it’s emotional but there are little details as you do go up the levels get learned and the little details become second nature and that has a knock-on effect to things that happen within the game,” he explained.

“But I think that is where we’re at as a group, we’re very young, I was very aware of that before the game that we were a young group and within that, you get inconsistencies.

“They’re truly gutted that we’ve conceded at the end there and they gave absolutely everything they possibly could.

“Playing with 10-men has its own physical challenges because you’re moving the ball a lot more, you’re having to try and create space, you’re having to try and make forward runs, you’re having to try and break the opposition and down and you’re having to be on the front foot even more and I think we did that for large spells but you speak about the two sucker punches that we have to learn from and that has to be the remit from now.

"We learn and try and make improvements.”

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