Doncaster Rovers Manager Paul Dickov spoke to Rovers Player and the press after his sides 3-0 victory over Charlton Athletic.
Three goals at home again- should it have been more?
“Possibly, but it is believe it or not difficult when you play against ten men, mentally and psychologically you think the game’s over, but you’ve got to give Charlton a bit of credit as well- they came out in the second half and sat in there with two banks of four but i thought our ball retention was good for the majority of the game and overall I cant be too disappointed. That’s seven points out of nine and six points from our last two home games so a lot of positives to take.”
When it was 11 v 11 what did you think of performance at that stage?
“For the first 35 minutes we were fantastic- we pressed the ball, our work rate without the ball and our desire to win the ball back was fantastic, and then we kept it. The slight problem I had with them on Saturday was every time we won the ball back at Blackpool we tried to force it and go and score in one pass. But i thought we were patient, we got lots of crosses in the box and put a lot of pressure on them and when we had them under pressure we sustained that and that’s how the first goal came about.”
Has Chris Brown been on penalties since the start of the season before you signed Billy?
“Yeah he was, and he scored the one against Wigan last week so it would have been harsh for him not to take this one tonight.”
After the sending off, what was your impression of the game?
“I actually had a go at them at half time because I thought the last ten minutes of the first half they got sloppy and we dropped our standards a little bit. The reason we got in front was because of the intensity and the tempo we played at, and we’re at our best when we keep the ball and play at that high tempo but I felt we slowed everything down. I know as a player it’s difficult when you play against ten men but that doesnt mean you should let your standards drop. Second half I thought we were better, there were still times when our ball retention wasn’t what it should have been, but I said we would talk about that on Thursday because Saturday is another big three points.”
When asked about the clean sheet:
“A clean sheet is massive and when you keep a clean sheet you are going to pick up a minimum of a point and I thought defensively we looked solid tonight.”
Were you tempted to bring Billy off when it got to 3-0?
“I wanted to try and keep Billy on a little longer and see if he could get his goal but we have to be careful. A big plus is getting the minutes out of him that we got on Saturday and another 75 minutes today. He will be so much better for that fitness wise.”
Not often a team at the bottom of the table plays with such freedom like that- was that the aim from the beginning?
“That’s been the outset since I came in. We have big players back from injury now and we have also managed to bring in really really good signings and I think we’ve seen that. It boosts confidence- not just around the team but around the whole squad because they know that they can trust their team mates and we know that we have good players in the team. Most importantly for me is that we know that we are competitive in this league and I have said that from the start.”
Thoughts on Duffy’s performance?
“I thought Mark was absolutely top class. He got his goal and we all saw what he’s capable of. We need more of an end product as in goals wise from him, and if he carries on playing like he did tonight he has a chance of getting a few more goals.”
Were you surprised at Charlton’s limitations going forward or was that because you closed them down?
“We did’t give them any chances, we were right on top of them. Our forwards, midfield and defense were really tight so any second balls that were in those areas we were the first to pick up and went on to put them under pressure which is a massive part in tonights victory. The desire during the 90 minutes was to press and the desire and the work rate the team showed is what won us the game.”
You wanted to treat it as a massive game and the players showed a lot of courage tonight?
“I said to them I wasn’t going to apologise for putting pressure on them in the press as professionals, because there is a lot of experience in the squad and the minimum they should expect is to get something from the big games, games where sometimes you’ve got to scrap it out and fight for the result.”
What sort of impact has Billy had in the dressing room?
“He’s a very bubbly character anyway and his enthusiasm on the pitch and within the football club itself is infectious for the whole squad.”
Copps seems to be flying?
“He (Coppinger) is- since we bought him back in since his injury he’s been absolutely flying and tonight I thought he was excellent again. It’s not just the stuff on the ball, his work rate off the ball and for the team is top class.”
Is this the turning point in the season?
“It’s very tight down there but what we have done tonight is possibly drag a couple more teams into it and we have just as big a game to play on Saturday. Middlesbrough will be tough- they are on a good run at the moment so we are going to have to keep our standards right up and keep getting results.”
What do you make of the Meite and Khumalo centre half pairing?
“They’re a great pair, and the whole back four have been working hard and I think that has shown. The experience they have got is up there with a lot of players in this league and the best things about it is the more they play together the better they are going to get.”