DFP Header

Chikhura Post Match | The Manager

August 2, 2019 4:05 am Author: AFC Media Team
Chikhura Post Match | The Manager

The game

“I’m very pleased.

“People who weren’t at the game will maybe look at the scoreline and think that our opponent wasn’t any good, but I thought they were a capable side.

“Anyone who was here tonight can see the way they worked the ball from their own box to the opposition box pretty quickly. They were all very comfortable on the ball. Particularly when the game was slow, as it had to be at times because we could not sustain those energy levels for 90 minutes at this stage of the season, that repetitive pressing to get after them.

“But we chose our moments tonight and we not only looked a good side – and scored some quality goals – but I thought we played with a lot of intelligence.

“They never really had a lot of passes on when they were in possession of the ball. We allowed certain players the chance to play the passes and we picked and chose our moments. But those moments were very good.

“We started the game full of speed and the two home games have given our fans a flavour of what is to come.

“It’s credit to my players that they are able to deliver that type of performance so early in the season.

“These early rounds in Europe put us under real scrutiny and pressure, especially when you are playing against teams who are clearly fitter than us at this moment because their domestic league allows them to be sharper and fitter.

“We showed our strength, our speed and our quality enough times tonight and I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Sam Cosgrove

“He’s in good company with Drew, equalling that record. (scoring in four consecutive European games).

“It’s 25 goals in 32 games for him now, and that’s incredible shooting.

“I am never going to be able to sign a perfect player. You are signing players with loads of development to come – some more than others. Sam has certainly come from way back.

“There were people who wrote him off too quickly. And a lot of people who should have known better.

“He clearly still has work to do but you can see his potential from his performance tonight, all three goals were different.

“The first goal, we always say to him, think you are a 5ft 9’ striker in the box. Get your moment right. For the goal he watches everyone get sucked to the ball and he peels away at the back stick. He moves his feet to give him a chance of the shot. Yes, it takes a deflection, but it is about finding the space. He is not just standing there wanting the ball to land on his head.

“Second goal, brilliant movement from Ferguson and his cross is as good as you will see and Sam in the middle of the goal produces a diving header. A fantastic goal.

“But his third goal is probably the best of the lot of them. He has a lot to do still. He shows his strength initially. He should maybe pass the ball to Scott Wright who is at his side, but his confidence is so good that he scores with the outside of his right boot from 22 yards.

“A fantastic performance from Sam.

“There is still more to come from him, but he is certainly a player who now knows what he is and his confidence is growing by the game.

“He knows he has real competition this year as well. We all see how well Curtis Main is training every day. Although he missed the game tonight with a little thigh strain, hopefully Curtis will be ok for Sunday. Curtis Main for me will be a very important player this season and Sam sees that as well.

“I feel as if I have the benefit of having a couple of really strong strikers up there and Sam has started the season very well. He is starting where he finished off last season.

“We’ve had enquiries and we know people are looking at him, but he’ll be with us this season and it’s important he uses that time to develop even further and become even better. When you see the improvement in such a short period of time, it is exciting. We think we’ve only scratched the surface and there’s a lot more to come.”

The Squad

“I think my team will get better as go along.

“Hopefully we can keep everyone with us and no one leaves and we can maybe add another defender and register him before the game on Thursday.

“But I think the squad, if we can get two or three off the treatment table, we can go into the game next Thursday in Croatia with confidence of maybe – I am not saying we can match the result we got before because that was pretty special – but I think we can go there and get a positive result.

“I am saying that without having looked at Rijeka yet. I will not look at them yet as we will concentrate on Hearts for the time being.”