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Mat Sadler 'proud' of his side despite defeat against Blackburn Rovers

9 August 2023

Club News

Mat Sadler 'proud' of his side despite defeat against Blackburn Rovers

9 August 2023

Saddlers Head Coach Mat Sadler was left feeling proud of his side despite them exiting the Carabao Cup in the first round at the hands of Sky Bet Championship side Blackburn Rovers.

Sadler’s side played their pair in a seven goal thriller on Tuesday evening but came up just short in what was a promising outing against a highly competitive Rovers side.

Goals on the night from Oisin McEntee, Ross Tierney and Ronan Maher weren’t quite enough to get the Saddlers in the hat for the next round but Sadler was proud and pleased with what he saw from his side.

“I am so so proud of the effort that they put in and the way that we played,” began Sadler.

“We knew what to expect from the way that Blackburn play.

“I have watched a lot of them over the last two or three weeks, we have managed to watch a few of their friendlies and we saw the game against West Brom on Saturday and they play in a way that we will not face at any other time this season and they do it throughout the club.

“They have got some fantastic forward movements, they get rotations in midfield and we needed to be solid and connected and we wanted to hit them on the counter attack.

“In the first half, I thought the game plan worked to a tee and we could have gone and score three or four. We scored two goals, without doubt there was a stonewall penalty that was not given and then there were a couple of other chances where it wouldn’t have flattered us if we have scored three or four in the first half.

“The only disappointment for me is not staying in the lead for long enough. I will take the opposition out of it because we won’t be facing teams like Blackburn every week but there will be times where we go in the lead and in the next five minutes, we have to be super switched on and ready for that next barrage that comes our way and then we go again ourselves.

“Like I say, the only disappointment for me was that we didn’t hold onto the lead when we went in front, which we thoroughly deserved to do and then we concede at the start of the second half which just knocks the stuffing out of us.

“Once they get their noses in front, they are very very good at keeping the football, making it hard for us, making us run but you can see the attitude that the lads have got, they are desperate to get back into games.

“They have a never say die attitude to score at the end with Ronan Maher there, his first career senior goal, and I just can’t be anything but proud.”

It was a night of firsts at Ewood Park as McEntee, Tierney and Maher all bagged their first goals for the Club and Sadler was especially pleased with what he saw from McEntee who slotted seamlessly back into defence on the night.

“I want to give credit to Goalkeeper Coach Dan Watson on that one (Oisin’s goal) because we work really hard on our set plays,” Sadler continued.

“We have got a bit of a thing going on in the group with them. We work really hard on them so it was great to see Oisin pop up and score tonight.

“For me, Oisin in the epitome of what I want as a football player at the football club.

“He gives absolutely everything every time he steps out onto the training pitch and every single time he steps out onto the pitch whether that be in the more advanced role as a midfielder or as a defender.

“He is an incredible person and an incredible footballer for me. I believe we have got a really good one in him and I look forward to seeing him grow and develop.”

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