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    Rangers: A closer look

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    Gers matchday magazine preview

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    Dylan Mackin departs on loan

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    Goalkeeper Griffiths joins on loan

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    Elliott Frear signs for the Steelmen

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    Win £100 worth of vouchers

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    Ticket office open late tonight

  • Archive

    Coach Jim Hollman departs

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    McManus: Next game is most important

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    McGhee: We’ll start again

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    Rangers: A closer look

    Motherwell take on Rangers this Saturday afternoon as they look to bounce back from last weekend’s Scottish Cup defeat.

    And ‘Well boss Mark McGhee could be boosted by the recent signings of Elliott Frear and Russell Griffiths, who will both be available for selection tomorrow afternoon.

    A late brace from Kenny Miller dragged the Ibrox side from behind to snatch a dramatic victory in Glasgow after Louis Moult had given the Steelmen a hard-earned lead with just 15 minutes remaining last weekend.

    For many ‘Well fans, the arrival of the Gers to Lanarkshire tomorrow may appear to arrive at a good time, but for manager Mark McGhee, it is irrelevant who his side take on – he is just raring to go and get back in to league action.

    Speaking to the press yesterday at Motorpoint’s Glasgow branch, the Fir Park gaffer looked ahead to the first league match of 2017.

    He said: “We were back in yesterday and we’re over it. It was a huge disappointment but we’ve got another important game on Saturday, another opportunity, so we’ll start again.

    “I’m experienced enough to get over it because it’s not the end of the world and I know there’s other games, but you just have to be honest in these situations and at that time that was how I felt.”

    He added: “It was an opportunity missed in all sorts of ways because I was very ambitious about the cup this year – I had high expectations and I felt if we could get past that one and maybe get a little bit of luck in the draw then who knows what could have happened.”

    The manager is under no illusions that playing Rangers so soon after will play any part on this weeks game – it is a fresh fixture and bears no relevance.

    [pullquote]The fact it’s Rangers on Saturday isn’t all that important. We just move on, it’s about the three points and we’ve just got to get up the table.[/pullquote]

    The boss said: “The fact it’s Rangers on Saturday isn’t all that important. We just move on, it’s about the three points and we’ve just got to get up the table.

    “You can say all you like about revenge but it won’t be revenge – if we win on Saturday it won’t be revenge for last Saturday because that’s done – it’ll be three points that will contribute to our safety and our push for a top six spot.

    “The fact it’s the same opposition is coincidental but they’ll have one or two back so their team might be slightly different.”

    He added: “They’ll have seen us up close on Saturday and learnt some things about us so there’s that as well, but we just have to see what we can learn from Saturday and perhaps even improve our performance.”

    McGhee will be without Lee Lucas through suspension and Ross MacLean, who injured his shoulder whilst playing for the U20s.

    Rangers will be boosted by the return of James Tavernier from suspension while Joe Garner, Joe Dodoo and Niko Kranjcar near their return to fitness.

     

    Stephen McManus admits he can’t wait to get back to business on Saturday after last weekend’s Scottish Cup exit.

    The defender doesn’t feel it matters that the Steelmen play Rangers again, insisting that the next game is always the most important one regardless of opposition.

    And speaking to the press at Motorpoint this morning, the ex-Scotland captain revealed his heartbreak last weekend, but his desire to push past it.

    McManus said: “It was good to get back in to training on Monday, that was the big thing because we were devastated as a group, really disappointed.

    “That was probably the worst I’ve felt in my full career after a game.”

    He added: “Saturday was tough, Saturday night was tough, Sunday was tough – so it was good to come in to work on Monday and get back to training.

    “Some of us don’t always train on a Monday but for me it was a big, big thing to get back on the pitch, back among the boys in preparing for Saturday.”

    Reflecting on the final five minutes of the match, McManus said: “When the second goal went in and as soon as the ball had left my boot I could see it happening that they were going to score so at that point of the game it was difficult.

    “For me it was really disappointing and yes mistakes happen in the game so you have to put it behind you and move on – you need to face up to the music and that’s how it goes.”

    He added: “I’ll make mistakes in the future and I’ve made mistakes in the past, everybody does, but it’s about how you react from it and that’s the biggest thing.

    “At 34 you’re sitting there, you’ve experienced a lot in your career from the highs of winning leagues, losing leagues, losing cups and winning cups – pretty much everything, but for me Saturday was the toughest thing I’ve had to take.”

    The 34-year-old admitted that it doesn’t matter who the Steelmen play this weekend, it’s just important to get back to action quickly.

    [pullquote]I think everybody that comes to our place knows that they’ll be up against a side that will give their all for the manager, for the supporters and now it’s just about us finding that blend of consistency.[/pullquote]

    He said: “For me it wouldn’t matter if we were playing Manchester United, Real Madrid or whoever – the next game is always the most important one.

    “It’s good to get back to league business now, it’s good to have the winter break out the road and we know where we’re at as a squad.

    “Hopefully we can get a couple of new faces in for the remainder of the season and we’ll look to kick on.”

    He added: “We’ve not really hit top form consistently this season when you see how well we’ve played against Celtic – that’s the level we can play at and we know that.

    “The manager has tinkered with his formation and his line-up at times and that’s just to try and find the right blend, the right style of play that suits us with the players we’ve got at our disposal.”

    On Saturday’s opposition, McManus said: “Rangers are a good side, there’s no doubt about it and they have players that can hurt you.

    “I think everybody that comes to our place knows that they’ll be up against a side that will give their all for the manager, for the supporters and now it’s just about us finding that blend of consistency.”

     

    Rangers have slotted back in to the top flight of Scottish football seamlessly this season.

    Despite sitting 19 points behind league leaders and arch-rivals Celtic, the Glaswegian side find themselves second in the Premiership table, midway through their first season back.

    And while many won’t be surprised to see the club back around the summit of the table, it is still an impressive return to the top flight for the club after being away for four seasons.

    Under manager Mark Warburton, the Gers have not only been busy in the transfer market but they have also found themselves playing an attacking brand of football.

    New arrivals Joe Garner, Clint Hill, Joe Dodoo and Josh Windass have enjoyed good starts to their Rangers careers – and the recent arrivals of Jon Toral and Emerson Hyndman boost the Ibrox outfit further ahead of the second half of the campaign.

    The two new arrivals both featured for the Gers last weekend, with the latter providing the all important assist for Miller’s winner – a perfectly weighted through ball.

    The signings will be a welcome boost too, with Warburton’s side somewhat stuttering towards the end of 2016, ending the year with a single point from their final two fixtures.

    A draw away to St Johnstone was followed up by a 2-1 loss at Ibrox to Celtic, leaving Rangers on 39 points after 21 matches.

    Kenny Miller gave his side the lead in the Hogmanay clash, tapping in from close range to send the Ibrox crowd in to an early frenzy.

    But a thunderous effort from Moussa Dembele after half an hour drew the visitors level before Scott Sinclair’s tap in with 20 minutes remaining secured the win for Brendan Rodgers side and left Rangers with a long wait before returning to league action tomorrow afternoon.

    Both sides will be more than prepared for tomorrow afternoon’s match as the Ladbrokes Premiership gets back underway.

    Not only will the two clubs have been working hard over the winter break to get back to match fitness, but having clashed last Saturday in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup, the two teams will be feeling familiar and will be more than prepared.

    Neither sets of supporters will need reminding about last weekends match and ‘Well fans will be particularly hungry to witness revenge after suffering late heartbreak.

    A Kenny Miller brace sealed a 2-1 win for the hosts on their own patch despite Louis Moult’s header which gave the visiting Fir Parkers a lead in the 74th minute and looked set to send them in to the fifth round and last years runner’s up out of the tournament.

    But when Miller equalised in the 84th minute it seemed a replay would be in the offing.

    A late lapse in concentration and a clinical finish from the Gers forward fired the Glaswegians in to a 2-1 lead and broke ‘Well hearts.

    It will make McGhee’s men hungry for competitive action tomorrow afternoon at Fir Park.

    Storming to the Championship title, lifting the Challenge Cup and finishing runners up in the Scottish Cup was a terrific first season for the newly appointed Warburton and his assistant David Weir last season.

    This season though, while the league is starting to slide ever more in to Celtic’s grasp, Rangers will be keen to keep the gap between their rivals down, but in Motherwell they know they will face tough opposition tomorrow afternoon.

    The winter break is over, the league is ready to get going again and the Fir Park faithful will be raring to go tomorrow.

    It is a big match for the visitors, who will be keeping one eye over their shoulder on the results of Aberdeen who are breathing down the Light Blue’s neck in third.

  • Archive

    Gers matchday magazine preview

    The thirteenth issue of the Steelmen matchday magazine is on sale ahead of tomorrow’s league clash with Rangers at Fir Park.

    Here, we take a look at what can be found inside the 68-page programme.

    ‘Well skipper Keith Lasley reflects on last weekend’s deflating cup loss and discusses the players and managers desire to get back to league action tomorrow afternoon. The captain also talks about the exciting crop of youngsters breaking in to the first team and the success of the U20s under Stephen Craigan, who Las assistant manages.

    Regular pieces including the pre-match column from manager Mark McGhee and club captain Keith Lasley, along with ‘5 Fast Facts’ and ‘Getting to Know You’ – where midfielder Craig Clay is profiled – all remain in the latest issue of the 2016/17 season programme.

    The interesting feature ‘Well in Numbers’, where feature writer Andrew Paterson looks at some of the key numbers in Motherwell history, continues in the first issue of 2017.

    ‘Future Steel’ is an inside look at the next generation of players waiting patiently to break in to the first team and this week’s star is Tom Fry, as he continues to put in sound displays for the U20s.

    As part of the clubs aims to work closely with the Motherwell FC Community Trust and The ‘Well Society, regular updates are included in the programme.

    This week’s main features on tomorrow’s opposition remain, including an in-depth look at Rangers as well as this season’s new ‘Tactics Board’, where we ponder a potential line-up for Mark Warburton as he looks to bounce back to winning ways in the league and after an important win over Motherwell last weekend. Rangers top stars are profiled in this section too.

    Our match report section looks back on the hard fought Scottish Cup clash last weekend, when Rangers came from behind to win late on at Ibrox and break the spirited ‘Well fans.

    An update on Stephen Craigan’s U20s side is included too, reporting on the youngster’s two matches so far this year in which they have a 100% record so far. The first was an important win over Partick which see’s the youngsters progress in to the semi final of the Scottish FA Youth Cup, the second was a Development League victory over Dundee United in Forfar and the young Steelmen now sit second in the table.

    Get all the latest from the Ticket Office as well as an in-depth look at tomorrow’s match-officials.

    All this and more is available for £3 and is on sale from the Club Shop as well as the usual sellers located in and around the ground pre-match.

    You can also order back editions or take a subscription to the magazine for the rest of the season by visiting the website of our publishers, Curtis-Sports.

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    Dylan Mackin departs on loan

    Motherwell FC can today confirm that Dylan Mackin has completed a Development Loan switch to Scottish League One side Alloa Athletic.

    The centre forward, who has been in scintillating goal-scoring form for the U20s, will be with the Wasps for the remainder of the season.

    It is a decision made by the coaching staff and the player himself, to push Mackin to the next level and with a view to the player returning to compete for a place in Mark McGhee’s first team next term.

    The striker will still also be eligible to play with Stephen Craigan’s Under 20s side if required.

    McGhee said: “We would like to wish Dylan all the best and we believe this is a big opportunity for him.

    [pullquote]It also has to be said that Alloa have got themselves a terrific player, who I believe will be excellent for them for the remainder of the season.[/pullquote]

    “We want to give him this opportunity to play regular first-team games between now and the end of the campaign as we prepare for next term.”

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    Goalkeeper Griffiths joins on loan

    Motherwell FC can today confirm the signing of Russell Griffiths on loan from Everton for the remainder of the season.

    The club would also like to announce the departure of Dean Brill, who has departed the Steelmen in search of first team opportunities.

    20-year-old stopper Griffiths, who has spent the first half of the season on loan at Cheltenham this term, arrives in Lanarkshire hungry to impress.

    And he had a chat with MFC TV this morning after penning his deal.

    [pullquote]I’ve heard a lot about the club, I know a few of the players and when I spoke to the goalkeeper coach he told me about how good a club it was to come to.[/pullquote]

    He said: “I’m really delighted to be here and I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead.

    “I’ve heard a lot about the club, I know a few of the players and when I spoke to the goalkeeper coach he told me about how good a club it was to come to.”

    Having joined Everton at the age of 14, Russell is aiming to gain valuable experience and is keen to learn from Craig Samson.

    He said: “I know there’s a good number one here at the moment to learn from in Craig Samson and hopefully everything will go well while I’m here.

    [pullquote]My career has really just started this season and I’ve spent the last six months on loan at Cheltenham in League Two where I made 29 appearances. I then was back at Everton before signing here today.[/pullquote]

    “My career has really just started this season and I’ve spent the last six months on loan at Cheltenham in League Two where I made 29 appearances. I then was back at Everton before signing here today.”

    Looking forward, the keeper said: “I want to impress the manager, try and break in to the team to hopefully make my Scottish Premiership debut.

    “He’s a really respected manager and he has a great CV too – I’ve heard a lot back home about coming up here and it can only be good for me.”

    He added: “Walking out here in to the stadium got me quite excited and I’m sure Saturday will be a good day and hopefully we can get the three points.”

  • Archive

    Elliott Frear signs for the Steelmen

    Motherwell FC can today confirm the signing of Elliott Frear from National League side Forest Green Rovers for an undisclosed fee.

    The 26-year-old put pen to paper this evening and, subject to normal registration and clearance formalities, has penned a two-and-a-half-year deal.

    Making nineteen National League appearances this term, the 26-year-old, who will wear squad number 17 this season, has scored once and laid on eight assists.

    Speaking to MFC TV after signing with the Steelmen, Frear expressed his delight to be making his move north of the border.

    He said: “I’m delighted, it’s been a long window to be honest because I know that there was interest last summer, but it’s been good to get up here this morning and I’m just glad to get it done.

    [pullquote]I’m delighted, it’s been a long window to be honest because I know that there was interest last summer, but it’s been good to get up here this morning and I’m just glad to get it done.[/pullquote]

    “I know a few of the boys here already from playing in the National League so I’m really looking forward to get going.”

    A number of ‘Well stars have made the switch north and went on to be tremendous signings for the Steelmen, which Frear admits played a part in his decision to sign his deal.

    The winger said: “That was one of the main things really – along with signing for a big club like Motherwell – seeing the likes of Louis Moult and Marvin Johnson go on to do well here, so hopefully I can make the same impact and kick on.”

    When asked to describe his style of play to the eagerly awaiting Motherwell fans on MFC TV, Frear said: “I’m just an out-and-out winger to be honest. I play on the left side and I like to get at people and cross it – that’s my game.

    “I got nearly 50 assists over the past few seasons so hopefully I can emulate that up here.”

    [pullquote]I’m just an out-and-out winger to be honest. I play on the left side and I like to get at people and cross it – that’s my game.[/pullquote]

    Since the departure of Marvin Johnson in the summer, a left-sided midfielder is a position Mark McGhee has been keen to fill.

    In Frear, he believes he’s found his man. He said: “We’re delighted to welcome Elliott to the club, especially because we were keen to sign him in the summer.

    “He’s a true winger, a left-sider and I’m really pleased that we’ve secured his signature because he brings a bit of balance to the squad.

    He added: “I’ve said it before but I feel strengthening our squad, particularly at this stage of the campaign, was hugely important and in Elliott we’ve not only strengthened, but brought in something we’ve been missing.

    “I look forward with anticipation to see how well he settles in. He has the right type of attitude to fit in with the squad we have here which I feel is hugely important.

    “Our business isn’t finished though. We still anticipate more faces arriving between now and the deadline.”

     

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    Win £100 worth of vouchers

    Motherwell Football Club and sponsor Motorpoint want to give you £100 towards your Christmas shopping!

    All you have to do is find one of the Motorpoint promotional team on Saturday when we face Rangers at Fir Park and you could be the lucky winner of £100 of Love2Shop vouchers.

    Here is how to win:

    • Find one of the Motorpoint Team
    • Take a selfie in the Motorpoint windscreen
    • Post it on Facebook or Twitter before Kick off at 12.30pm
    • Tag in @motorpoint and @motherwellfc
    • Wait until half time and you could be on the pitch collecting your prize!
    • Spend, Spend, Spend
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    Ticket office open late tonight

    Tickets for the Ladbrokes Premiership match with RANGERS on Saturday 28th January at Fir Park (12.30pm KO) are available from the Fir Park ticket office.

    And you can get yours now, as the ticket office is open late tonight until 7pm (Thursday 26th), usual hours of 9:15am – 3:30pm on Friday, and you still have time on Saturday morning too, when the ticket office will be open from 9am till kick-off at 12:30pm.

    The following admission prices apply – (please note this is an all ticket fixture and Rangers end tickets have been given to Ibrox for direct purchase):

    ADULTS   £27/£20  
    CONCESSIONS      £18/£16
    JUVENILE   £14/£10
    FAMILY   £27/£20
    • Concessions are listed as 65 and over and 16-17 year olds
    • Juveniles are listed as under 16s
    • Family ticket consists of one adult and one juvenile
    • Cheaper priced tickets are for the John Hunter Stand only
    • Fans who require ambulant or wheelchair access should contact Sharon or John McCaskie on 07745 494631/ 07711 992161 or email disabledfans@motherwellfc.co.uk
  • Archive

    Coach Jim Hollman departs

    Motherwell FC can today confirm the departure of Goalkeeping Coach Jim Hollman, who has joined English League One side Northampton Town.

    After spells with Ipswich Town, Norwich City and Cardiff City, Hollman arrived at Fir Park in the summer of 2015, appointed by then boss Ian Baraclough to replace Gordon Marshall who had moved on to Aberdeen.

    Jim was a popular figure amongst the players and staff at the club, and leaves with everyone’s very best wishes. The club will now look to appoint a replacement as soon as possible.

    ‘Well boss Mark McGhee said: “We have all really enjoyed working with Jim and thank him for his tremendous work with the club over the past eighteen months.

    “He was offered a position at Northampton and wished to give it a go. We have a few potential candidates in mind to replace Jim and as soon as we can, we’ll appoint his successor.”

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    McManus: Next game is most important

    Stephen McManus admits he can’t wait to get back to business on Saturday after last weekend’s Scottish Cup exit.

    The defender doesn’t feel it matters that the Steelmen play Rangers again, insisting that the next game is always the most important one regardless of opposition.

    And speaking to the press at Motorpoint this morning, the ex-Scotland captain revealed his heartbreak last weekend, but his desire to push past it.

    McManus said: “It was good to get back in to training on Monday, that was the big thing because we were devastated as a group, really disappointed.

    “That was probably the worst I’ve felt in my full career after a game.”

    He added: “Saturday was tough, Saturday night was tough, Sunday was tough – so it was good to come in to work on Monday and get back to training.

    [pullquote]Saturday was tough, Saturday night was tough, Sunday was tough – so it was good to come in to work on Monday and get back to training.[/pullquote]

    “Some of us don’t always train on a Monday but for me it was a big, big thing to get back on the pitch, back among the boys in preparing for Saturday.”

    Reflecting on the final five minutes of the match, McManus said: “When the second goal went in and as soon as the ball had left my boot I could see it happening that they were going to score so at that point of the game it was difficult.

    “For me it was really disappointing and yes mistakes happen in the game so you have to put it behind you and move on – you need to face up to the music and that’s how it goes.”

    He added: “I’ll make mistakes in the future and I’ve made mistakes in the past, everybody does, but it’s about how you react from it and that’s the biggest thing.

    “At 34 you’re sitting there, you’ve experienced a lot in your career from the highs of winning leagues, losing leagues, losing cups and winning cups – pretty much everything, but for me Saturday was the toughest thing I’ve had to take.”

    The 34-year-old admitted that it doesn’t matter who the Steelmen play this weekend, it’s just important to get back to action quickly.

    [pullquote]I think everybody that comes to our place knows that they’ll be up against a side that will give their all for the manager, for the supporters and now it’s just about us finding that blend of consistency.[/pullquote]

    He said: “For me it wouldn’t matter if we were playing Manchester United, Real Madrid or whoever – the next game is always the most important one.

    “It’s good to get back to league business now, it’s good to have the winter break out the road and we know where we’re at as a squad.

    “Hopefully we can get a couple of new faces in for the remainder of the season and we’ll look to kick on.”

    He added: “We’ve not really hit top form consistently this season when you see how well we’ve played against Celtic – that’s the level we can play at and we know that.

    “The manager has tinkered with his formation and his line-up at times and that’s just to try and find the right blend, the right style of play that suits us with the players we’ve got at our disposal.”

    On Saturday’s opposition, McManus said: “Rangers are a good side, there’s no doubt about it and they have players that can hurt you.

    “I think everybody that comes to our place knows that they’ll be up against a side that will give their all for the manager, for the supporters and now it’s just about us finding that blend of consistency.”

  • Archive

    McGhee: We’ll start again

    ‘Well boss Mark McGhee admits that he is over last weekend’s cup loss and is just focussing on moving up the league table.

    The Steelmen face Rangers for the second time in the space of a week as Premiership football gets back underway in 2017.

    And speaking to the press this morning at Motorpoint in Glasgow, McGhee revealed his hopes for another good performance on Saturday.

    He said: “We were back in yesterday and we’re over it. It was a huge disappointment but we’ve got another important game on Saturday, another opportunity, so we’ll start again.

    “I’m experienced enough to get over it because it’s not the end of the world and I know there’s other games, but you just have to be honest in these situations and at that time that was how I felt.”

    [pullquote]We were back in yesterday and we’re over it. It was a huge disappointment but we’ve got another important game on Saturday, another opportunity, so we’ll start again.[/pullquote]

    He added: “It was an opportunity missed in all sorts of ways because I was very ambitious about the cup this year – I had high expectations and I felt if we could get past that one and maybe get a little bit of luck in the draw then who knows what could have happened.”

    With competitive football firmly back in business after a three-week winter break, McGhee expressed his feelings about the stop-start flow this season.

    He said: “I’ve said this before but I don’t feel our season has started. It’s stalled and stalled with international breaks, injuries and all sorts and I just don’t feel like there’s been a flow yet.

    “On Saturday I saw it as an opportunity to really kick on, I saw it as a starting point for the proper performance of our season.

    “All of these things went through my head at the time, I was disappointed, but I’m over it.”

    It was Rangers of course who inflicted the cup heartbreak on McGhee and his side, but the manager is under no illusions that playing Rangers so soon after will play any part on this weeks game – it is a fresh fixture and bears no relevance.

    The boss said: “The fact it’s Rangers on Saturday isn’t all that important. We just move on, it’s about the three points and we’ve just got to get up the table.

    [pullquote]They’ll have seen us up close on Saturday and learnt some things about us so there’s that as well, but we just have to see what we can learn from Saturday and perhaps even improve our performance.[/pullquote]

    “You can say all you like about revenge but it won’t be revenge – if we win on Saturday it won’t be revenge for last Saturday because that’s done – it’ll be three points that will contribute to our safety and our push for a top six spot.

    “The fact it’s the same opposition is coincidental but they’ll have one or two back so their team might be slightly different.”

    He added: “They’ll have seen us up close on Saturday and learnt some things about us so there’s that as well, but we just have to see what we can learn from Saturday and perhaps even improve our performance.”

    Looking ahead to Saturday following last weekend, McGhee said: “I can look at all the positives from last weekend but just as importantly I’m looking at the first half from Saturday and thinking about what didn’t work well because I was disappointed with our first half performance.

    “On Saturday the best team won, there’s no doubt about that, but the best team doesn’t always win and we set ourselves up for a certain type of performance which we didn’t fully execute in the first half but we did in the second half, to give ourselves a chance to beat opposition who are proving week-in, week-out that they’re better than us.”

    He added: “So you can beat teams that are better than you and it’s those things that I thought about before the game, that we didn’t do in the first half, that I’ve got to reinforce this week to make sure we do in the first half this week.”