A Round-up of Argyle News
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Derek Adams has slammed the reaction of a small minority of fans as he and his team walked off the pitch after yesterday's 3-2 loss to Doncaster Rovers. Adams said that whilst he understands frustration, some of the comments made slipped into the abusive: "We all get judged on results and we know that but, sometimes, when you don't get the opportunity to pick players that you want to pick, that can be difficult. The players that played today, first half, really worked hard and put in a good performance. We saw that from the crowd at half-time, the backing they gave; on the flop side, you saw what happened at the end. They have decided to turn on us and that's what they did. I don't think it's very nice. I think we're all trying and myself, as a manager, works extremely hard for this football club. I understand that supporters pay their money, but some of the things that they say and do, I don't really find it necessary, and it doesn't help us as a football club; it doesn't help the brand of a football club. I understand the frustrations but you have got to be very careful what you do say in and around the stadium. Today, I did feel, at the end of the game, it was a wee bit unnecessary, and during the match. They are entitled to give their opinion; they are saying it at this moment in time. All I'm saying is that as manager of the football club, I have given them three years of very good success and I don't really think I deserved that after the game; I don't really think the football club deserved it after the game; and that is something that we hopefully don't see again. If it does happen again, I will be disappointed.
"We are not producing results at this moment in time. We understand that. There is a variety of reasons why we are not doing that. I can sit here and give out excuses. I am not going to do that. Doncaster were better than us but I think that, when you are trying your best with a group of players we have got at our disposal at this moment in time, playing out of position, then it is not always easy, as a manager, to deal with it. There were some not nice comments made and I don't think that's something this football club should be proud of. I think we have gone away from the days of that. I understand the frustrations I have already said that but there are ways to behave and ways to uphold your football club as a supporter. Some of them didn't do themselves any good today.
"I'm disappointed with that. I've worked hard here for three years; I've helped, with many people, put the football club back up through the leagues. I know that it's not the majority; I know it's only some, but to hear some of the wording that was directed to myself after the game...I don't think that any Plymouth Argyle supporter would like to be associated with that. That's something that you don't want to see. The way that things were said weren't appropriate and it was vocal to a lot of people, and even during the game, it was vocal as well. I know that I am manager of the football club and that I work hard for the football club and that doesn't mean one jot to anybody because everybody says 'That's your job; that's what you get paid for'. I get all that, but I think the way that it is happening at times doesn't sit well with me."
Regarding the game itself, Adams expressed disappointment that Argyle did not built on their first half momentum, saying: "We gave away a poor goal at the start. A quick free-kick from Doncaster down the side of us. "We don't react to them taking the quick free-kick, which is very poor from our players, and it allows them to get a goal ahead in the game. Then we score a very good goal from Ruben Lameiras which gets us in at half-time at 1-1. It looks like the tide is turning and going in our favour and then in the second half I thought Doncaster were the better team. We didn't really lay a hand on them until the last 10, five minutes of the game. They took their opportunities well, and they had a few good opportunities in the second half by our poor defending and our poor play. Our players didn't get as good a grip of the game as the Doncaster players did. We didn't take the impetus that we had in the first half into the second half, and I thought they were the better side. Their third goal he scores is touch and go offside but he has to finish it and he finishes it well. They were excellent goals but at this moment in time we are conceding goals quite easily. We are not defending well enough in that split second and allowing teams to quickly get a goal against us. But the two goals we scored were fabulous they were great strikes. I'm playing a left-back at right-back, a left winger at left-back and the left-sided centre-back was making his full debut, so from that point of view it's not easy. In the forward areas, especially in the second half, I didn't think we threatened enough against Doncaster. They go from doing really well in the first half to not having the same ability in the second half."
Argyle's dismal start to the season has continued, with a 3-2 loss to Doncaster, leaving Argyle on just 3 points from 10 games. Doncaster took the lead early on but were pegged back shortly before half-time by Ruben Lameiras. Two more Doncaster goals towards the start and end of the second period sealed the game before a late strike from Graham Carey got Argyle a consolation second. Argyle: Macey, Smith-Brown, Edwards, P Grant, Wylde, Songo'o(Ainsworth), Fox, Carey, Lameiras(Fletcher), J Grant(O'Keefe), Ladapo. Subs: Letheren, Law, Rooney, Dyson.
Due to works on the Home Park grandstand, Argyle will walk out from the corner of the Devonport and the Lyndhurst for the first time on Saturday. Derek Adams said of the unique experience: "The players are in the temporary dressing-rooms for the first time on Thursday and we will be there until the end of the season. It will be better for us to be closer to the supporters because we've been isolated from them for some time. We are working on some covering for both sets of players when they walk out. It will help with the atmosphere, even in the warm-up, and obviously during the game. The temporary facility will help us hear the atmosphere before the game and it's great for the players to be close to action."
Derek Adams has confirmed that Peter Grant will make his full debut for Argyle against Doncaster on Saturday in light of the injuries to Wootton, Canavan and Sawyer. Adams said: "Peter Grant will start on Saturday and it gives him an opportunity to get some game-time, with Scott Wootton, Niall Canavan and Gary Sawyer all out. We will have some younger players on the bench and we've got an idea who will be involved tomorrow against Ivybridge in the Peninsula League. We've also got an Under-18 game, as well as the Peninsula. We've got a lot of fixtures to fulfil and it is likely that some of those involved tomorrow will be on the bench against Doncaster."
Grant himself meanwhile spoke of the influence of his father in helping him become a better player: "He was at the Valley at the weekend; my family are based in Norwich so it's not too long a drive to get there. When I told him I was involved at the weekend, he managed to drive down and then, due to the circumstances with injuries I managed to get on the pitch early in the game. He was there for my debut for Argyle. It worked out okay but I'm hopeful my family will try and get to more games as the season goes on. I definitely wouldn't say it's a hindrance, if anything it's a bonus. My dad experienced all the leagues down here, the Championship all the way down to League Two, and had success. He played in the Premier League as well. He's been to Home Park on numerous occasions. He's played and coached against every team in this division and every other division. To have that advice coming from him is massive to me. He has been nothing but a massive positive and influence on me," he said. He gives me advice every week after the games; it's always a massive help. To have someone like that to bounce off of is crucial and only set me in good stead in the past and will in the future."
Derek Adams spoke of a squad full of spirit as Argyle head into a tough week where they will face Doncaster home, Barnsley away and Wimbledon home on a Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday rotation. The manager said: "We have a squad that looks like they are in the top end of the league in terms of spirit. It comes from how well they've done in games and the spirit they have. They're doing well, playing well in games but we're not picking up points. We haven't got the points our play has deserved. It is the result that matters but we also have to look at the bigger picture. We're not playing badly but we've made some errors that can be stopped, refereeing decisions haven't gone with us, we've not taken the right options defensively and we haven't scored enough goals. We have three tough matches coming up, starting with Doncaster, then away to Barnsley and Wimbledon at home. It's a week we're looking forward to and there are no easy games in League One when you're in the position we're in, but we've played well in games and not received the points our play has deserved. We have to stop conceding soft goals and do better at the other end to take our chances when they come along. We've played well in large spells in games and that is what opposition managers have said about us, but it's all about points on the board. We started the Charlton game very well and also ended well after conceding the second goal. Doncaster have started the season very well and changed their style of play from last year. They've still got the majority of the squad they had last season and they have added as well. From our point of view, there are players in our squad that can exploit their weaknesses. It will be an interesting encounter and a good start will be vital for us. There are 46 games in a season and a lot of teams start well and finish poorly. Other teams start poorly and finish well. You're only judged at the end of the season."
Derek Adams has given an update on Argyle's injury situation, confirming Gary Sawyer is set for a lengthy lay-off with a broken foot and also that Ryan Taylor could be set for a spell on the sidelines. Finally, Adams spoke about Argyle's injury crisis more generally and theorised as to possible reasons behind it. He said: "Gary has a broken metatarsal, so he's in plaster. We're waiting now to find out if he needs to have it pinned or not, just to see how it is going to heal. He is obviously going to be out for a good period of time. It's always slightly longer if its pinned. It's not too different, but if he does have it pinned, it won't happen again. It depends what the consultant advises. He doesn't know how it happened; it might have been a challenge; he's unsure. He just felt a lot of pain. He's very good around the place, so we won't miss him that way; he'll still be around helping out."
"Ryan Taylor has had a scan. We are just waiting for the consultant to come back with a report on it. It looks like it is the same but, until we get the consultant's report, we will not know. It's the same ankle as before. Obviously it is a concern because he has missed a lot of game time, when you have a squad you don't want players to pick up recurring injuries so, yes, it is a concern. We don't work them too hard. We do a football session in the morning and gym work in the afternoon, so they don't get worked too hard. It might be due to the amount of travelling we do on the bus and a lot of sitting about. That could be one of the reasons why. When we sit for seven, seven and a half hours, it's long journeys, and then coming back as well. We are looking at that, but, if you take the metatarsal and the ankle injuries, there's nothing you can do about them. It might be that, when we get off the bus, we go for a longer walk just to exercise the legs a wee bit more and it might be, when we get to the hotel at night, we do likewise, just to get the blood flowing. People ask why you have a squad of 24. Now is the reason. It doesn't take long to come about, but also doesn't take long to go again it's just one of these things that happens sometimes."
Gregg Wylde said that he would be happy to continue playing at left-back in the absence of Gary Sawyer, claiming there are aspects of the position that he prefers. Wylde elaborated: "I used to play there when I was younger, I came through the youth system at Celtic, came through the youth team at Rangers, until I got to 17s, Ally McCoist thought I was better pushed forward, with my pace. To be honest, I prefer to play at left-back, I can see the game a wee bit better, attack a wee bit better. When the gaffer said I was going to left-back, I was quite happy to do the job. Unfortunately, it wasn't the result we wanted but I thought I did okay at left-back. Sometimes I do prefer that position because, like I said, I can see the game a bit better. I can support the play from deep and I can see a pass as well. Nobody was going to run past me at all and I did say to the boy Jamie Ward he wasn't going to beat me, at one point, and he didn't. He went to the other side of the pitch. I thought I did alright against him, someone that's played in the Championship."
"You could write a book about the injuries. It was like this last year as well. Unfortunately these things happen, people get injured but it's a team game and we'll stick together, we are a group of boys who are quite close. We'll see what the outcome is this week with the boys that are injured, we'll dust ourselves down and go again next week against Doncaster. Hopefully, I have done well. I've just not had a crack of the whip yet to get game-time, this is my opportunity. Hopefully, I'll get a starting place at left-back next week or wide on the left, but if I play at left-back I'll do the same job I did at Charlton, defend well, attack well, and read the game a wee bit better. I think the gaffer knows that because his dad was at Rangers, he has seen me at left-back, so maybe it's something in the pipeline that I could do a job there. "
Whilst it might be cold comfort following another disappointing loss, Derek Adams took comfort in the fact that once again Argyle put in a decent account of themselves with regard to performance. He once again repeated the mantra that a turnaround in results is inevitable, saying: "We tried to play. We are a team that takes the game to other people. We've done that this season. Last week, we were the best team in League One in attacks. I don't know what we will be this week, but you can't keep on doing it and doing it and not get a break. We will get a break some time and we'll get moving further up the league. Charlton are a good side. It was toe to toe at times. It was both teams with technically gifted players, going for it. The second-half performance from us was good we played in good areas and the first half, as well. We have been doing this for the majority of the season and not getting our just rewards. We shouldn't have lost the game today. I didn't think they caused us a lot of trouble. They are always going to have opportunities. They are the home side, and that's always going to be the case. It went to and fro in the game both teams went at each other; they've hit the post; we've hit the bar. In the end, they have got a goal. It was a bit scrappy; we didn't deal well with the ball and they have been able to get the winner. You get to that stage of the game. You think it's going to be 1-1, but the ball went into the box. It's a bit of a problem for us because the player got up high and knocked it down, and we didn't get enough players in the box. You can't play the way that we are playing and it not going to turn. We have got a long way to go and we'll just keep on trying to fight for it, as we are doing. You saw the commitment of the players for the 90 minutes; you saw the supporters that were here today they have given us huge backing. We have got to do it for a lot of people and just keep on going."
Adams also berated the referee for two major decisions: the decision to allow Charlton's first goal after a possible foul in the box and also to award them a penalty just before half-time (which Matt Macey went on to save). Adams complained: "We started the game every well. We went ahead a great cross into the box from Joel Grant and great header by Graham Carey then they get a goal which we believe is a foul on Matt Macey. His hands were stopped from getting to the ball by one of their players. They get a goal out of nothing really to make it 1-1 and that gives them a lift. After that, the referee decided to give a lot of fouls against their players in the 18-yard box, but he got that one wrong. Then there was a penalty-kick which was soft, from my point of view; Matt Macey made a very good save from it. I didn't think it was a penalty. I thought Sarcevic slid in and I didn't see the player going over the top of him. I didn't see much in it but I did think it was a great save. You know, at Charlton, when things are not going well, it gets a wee bit restless. We tried to get it to that stage; we didn't quite get there. It's a difficult league but when you get decisions against you like we did today, to make it 1-1, it doesn't help."
Adams also confirmed that Ryan Taylor's absence from the squad was due to the same ongoing ankle injury that plagued him for much of last season, informing fans: "He has an ankle injury. He has been feeling it for a while. He just felt he couldn't carry on. It's the same injury he had last season. He has got to get a scan just to see what the problem is."
Finally, Gregg Wylde was pleased to come through the challenge of having come on as a makeshift left-back having had to replace the injured Gary Sawyer at half-time. Wylde said of his own display: "I did say to the boy Jamie Ward he wasn't going to beat me, at one point, and he didn't. It was down the left-hand side, I saw my man running, so I thought I would just go with him, he tried to cut it across the face and I cleared it off the line. We had our chances and the manager said at the end: we've gone toe-to-toe with the big teams and done well against them, but we're just not getting that rub of the green at the moment. It is a tough one to lose so late, we've caused ourselves a few problems this season already with penalties and set-pieces, and [disappointing] to lose the goal right at the end. We withheld the pressure, we knew it was coming, just launching it into the box like we did to them, and we just didn't defend it properly there. I didn't think Charlton were a team who caused us a lot of problems. In the second half, we did well as a team and defended well. We caused them problems at their end of the pitch, Foxy at the end could have put it in and we could have won the game, but I thought we did okay as a team. We move forward now to Doncaster."
Argyle's disastrous start to the League One season has continued with a 2-1 loss at Charlton which saw the greens pick up three further injuries on top of the 7 that had already incurred. Graham Carey put Argyle into the lead in the first ten minutes but the hosts equalised shortly afterwards. After losing Scott Wootton, Gary Sawyer and Antoni Sarcevic to injuries, they got their winner in the last two minutes of the game to leave Argyle with 3 points from 9 games. Argyle: Macey, Smith-Brown, Edwards, Wootton(P Grant), Sawyer(Wylde), Songo'o, Sarcevic(Fox), J Grant, Carey, Lameiras, Ladapo. Subs: Letheren, O'Keefe, Fletcher, Dyson.
Derek Adams was crunching the numbers ahead of Argyle's weekend trip to Charlton Athletic and concluded that, rather than a revolution, an increase in finishing was all that was needed to turn around Argyle's flailing form. He argued: "Last week, against Blackpool, we had most attacks than any club throughout the league; we had most attacks on the flank than any club throughout the league. From that point of view, it's pleasing. We are not taking the opportunities of finding that final pass when we are in that area, but to be at the top of that league table with attacks is very pleasing. We need to start winning games and taking our chances. I look at the stats, I look at the data; I look at our position in the league; and I look at our play. We are not getting the breaks at this moment that our play deserves. We were the best attacking team in the league last week. People can say what they want, but the stats don't lie. The stats don't lie that we are bottom of the league at this moment in time. We haven't scored enough goals and have conceded too many. We have obviously got to win football matches, and that is what we are trying to do. We tried to do it last week against Blackpool and unfortunately we were unsuccessful.
"We can't continue to knock at the door as we're doing and not score with the chances we are creating. It happened at Bristol Rovers we should have won that game and it happened against Blackpool. We didn't do that against Blackpool," he said. "We didn't do that the week before against Bristol Rovers. You don't get the stats that we have the most attack-minded team in the league last week. We are not going to change that this week. There are only two things in the game keeping the ball out of the net and scoring in the other net. It is as simple as that. We haven't done well enough at both ends but, with the data and the stats, we are always high up there about our passes; about playing in the attacking third; defending from our goal. So we just need to get that break that our play deserves. We need to find that killer pass that is going to get us a goal; we need to take our chances when they come along; we need to score more goals. We are in that area; we are creating opportunities; we just need to take them. If you are in that area of the pitch, more often than not, it is certainly going to click."
Ahead of the Charlton game, Adams said: "They have started the season well and got a good victory last week away to Bradford, so we have to be mindful of them. It's a terrific venue to go to. The stadium was built to be in the Premier League and it's a venue that we'll enjoy going to. We didn't do so well last year when we went there, so we want to do better this season. The full-back hit a shot which was a long-ranger it was a very good strike and, quite quickly after that, they got the second goal. It wasn't a perfect start for us that day. They are obviously going to be favourites for the game. We have to go there and take the game to them. We are going to go there and try to win the game, obviously, because we need to win games to get up the table. We will have to deal with their threat, as well as they will have to deal with the thereat that we have got to try to cause them."
Gary Sawyer echoed the words of his manager, adding: "They have started the season well and got a good victory last week away to Bradford, so we have to be mindful of them. It's a terrific venue to go to. The stadium was built to be in the Premier League and it's a venue that we'll enjoy going to. We didn't do so well last year when we went there, so we want to do better this season. The full-back hit a shot which was a long-ranger it was a very good strike and, quite quickly after that, they got the second goal. It wasn't a perfect start for us that day. They are obviously going to be favourites for the game. We have to go there and take the game to them "We are going to go there and try to win the game, obviously, because we need to win games to get up the table. We will have to deal with their threat, as well as they will have to deal with the thereat that we have got to try to cause them."
Meanwhile, Adams rejected the notion that 'pressure' was playing a significant part in his mindset as Argyle search for their first League One win. He said: "Pressure is only the pressure you take in yourself - if you wish to take it in, you wish to take it in. I don't wish to take it in. Pressure is a difficult word to put into context. In life, pressure is putting food on the table for your kids; pressure is about dealing with illness. Pressure is not about going out on a football field and playing football."
Captain Gary Sawyer reflected on the end of an era this week as news broke that developments in the grandstand have progressed so that the players will need to move out of the Mayflower dressing rooms and into temporary accommodation near to the Devonport End. The skipper spoke of the poignancy of leaving the old grandstand: "It's the end of an era in some ways; I have spent the majority of my career in that dressing room. When we got turfed out the other day, and that's the end of it, it's quite a big thing, but the club is heading in the right direction. The stand is something that everyone has wanted to be done for years. We just need to put up with a bit of here, there and everywhere until that happens, but it's not for long and it's very welcomed in the city, I would have thought, to have the stand re-done."
"It is weird when you walk out for the last time, probably more so for me than anyone else, but it is the end of an era. I have had some good times in that dressing-room, some hard times and some good times. It's part of football unfortunately sad to see it go, but with the club wanting to go where it wants to go in this day in age of football, it's right that the stand gets done and we move on to bigger and better things."
Sawyer also spoke of the need for him to step up and take responsibility as a senior member of the squad as Argyle desperately look for a glimmer of hope to turn their awful run of recent form around. He explained his role as captain: "We haven't got that problem here, but I have been in dressing rooms not playing for Plymouth where you get a different vibe around the place. We don't tend to get that sort of group of players brought down here. Given the ask on players, being far away from their families, people buy into the club, and the boys here have bought into the club. Now we need to put it onto the pitch and start climbing up the table. Obviously it happened last year but we have got a different group of players here this year. You don't want to rely on what we did previously. That has been done. There is a line under that now. This is where we are at now and this is what we have got to work towards. From what we did at the start of last year we are very similar really this season, unfortunately. How we finished last year was very strong. It was probably one of the best runs of form I have had in my career, from Christmas on. Obviously, we are looking to do that again, but we are looking to do it from earlier. We want to get this started as soon as possible."
Outgoing president Chris Webb gave a vote of confidence in the ability of manager Derek Adams to turn Argyle's form around as they sit at the bottom of the league, citing Adams' excellent character. He said: "It's not great. You never want to see your team bottom of the league. There were a lot of changes in the summer and if there is a manager with a proven track record of putting together a team at short notice and getting it up the league then it's Derek Adams. "I have got every confidence in him. He has been fantastic for the football club. I think James Brent takes huge credit for changing the culture of Argyle off the pitch. Derek Adams has changed it on the pitch. He has brought a winning mentality, and a totally different attitude to the whole of the football area of the club, and long may it continue."
Club President Chris Webb has informed the club's board that he will step down from his role on October 31st, the same date that James Brent relinquishes his chairmanship to David Felwick. Argyle have not announced whether they wish to fill the vacancy. Outgoing chair Brent said of his president: "Chris played a critical role in saving Argyle from liquidation and then helping it exit from administration. As President, he continued to commit considerable time to support the club in meeting its goals to become a successful, sustainable and community-orientated football club. PAFC is indebted to Chris and we wish him and his family every happiness and success in the future."
Webb himself added: "It has been a huge honour for me to be President of the club I have loved and followed my whole life. To play a part, however small, in saving Argyle and witnessing Wembley, Anfield and promotion as President is something I will always treasure. Now, with the change in shareholdings, it feels like the right time to step down as we move from one era to the next. I would like to thank James Brent for both his leadership and friendship over the last seven years. I wish everyone at the club all the best for the future. The Board, management team, players and staff all make up what is an amazing football club. I am, however, delighted to be returning to the terraces to be amongst the real heartbeat of Argyle - the supporters."
Derek Adams believes that the ability to create chances was not lacking in Argyle's 1-0 defeat to Blackpool, but merely the finishing that should have produced a comfortable win. Adams said: "Some players, at this moment in time, are not performing as well as they did last year," he said, after his side did more or less everything but score against the visiting Seasiders. That happens, but you don't become a bad player overnight you will get your form back and everybody will be the same player again at some time this season. You have just got to keep on working hard and that's what we are trying to do. We saw that today in the game we are working ever so hard to get that win or get that goal. It hasn't been for the want of trying. We will continue to do that."
"The substitutions helped us. It changed the flow in the game, which you are always hopeful that a substitution will do, and it gave us a new foothold in the game. It did change the manner and the way we played in the second half. We had to have an overload somewhere on the pitch and the overload was having Lameiras in the hole playing off Taylor to try to get him on the ball. It worked well for us. Everybody had seen that they turned the game around, in our favour - that tells you they're in confident mood. You don't camp yourself in Blackpool's half for the majority of the time that we did and not be a confident team. We just need a win. Today, we had a lot of the ball, but we haven't been clinical enough in that 18-yard box. It's a simple as that. We give away a goal and we haven't found the back of the net. It sounds simple, and it is simple. You have got to execute the opportunity when it comes along."
We have created a good number of chances today, in and around their 18-yard box, but we haven't put the ball in the back of the net. As a player, you get to that stage that, when you get that goal, you become confident now, you are just rushing it, feeling 'I need to score', and that is the stage that we are in at this moment in time. When Blackpool sat back and we got into that 18-yard box, we were trying to find a pass that's maybe not on, or not hitting the shot well enough. We were better than Blackpool today. I know the Blackpool manager might say something different but I am telling you, for a fact, that we had more opportunities than Blackpool; we had more of the ball in the 18-yard box than Blackpool. I believe they caused us problems in the first period of the game I'm not denying that but, in the second period, we were camped in their half. We're not getting a break at this moment in time. When that happens, we will go on a roll. It will turn; we know that. It's football; it always does."
Argyle's miserable run of League One form has continued with a 1-0 loss at home to Blackpool. The visitors got the game's only goal in the 14th minute and there was no further action for the rest of the game, bar the dismissal of two Blackpool players in second half stoppage time for fighting with eachother. Argyle: Macey, Riley, Edwards, Canavan(Wootton), Sawyer, Songo'o, O'Keefe(Lameiras), Sarcevic, Carey, J Grant, Ladapo(Taylor). Subs: Letheren, Smith-Brown, Fox, Wylde.
Derek Adams repeated his old mantra that Argyle simply need to cut the mistakes and the wins will come as he prepared to set up his team to host Blackpool in Argyle's first home match in three weeks. He said, first about the Rovers game: "It was better from us, defensively. We didn't have any errors in the game, and that's been important. We have caused ourselves a lot of problems early in the season because we have given the ball away in difficult positions and, after one or two passes, the other teams have scored goals. So we played forward; we played in the opposition's half. They didn't play the ball needlessly into midfield, where there could have been a press on. We played forward a lot more and we will have to continue to do that."
"Any new player coming into the side has to understand a new working relationship with players but we have made errors that are easily eradicated. That is sometimes not coachable - we have to realise that playing the ball into these areas is not helping us. We do like to have defensive structure, so to speak, but you have to be good at both you have to defend well and you have to attack well. Would I like to play with six attackers? Yes, is that answer, but you have to be very good defensively to do that. We have shown, over time, that we can be good, attacking-wise. Joel Grant came on last week and was outstanding on the left-hand side of the pitch but he has to do that every week. If he does that every week, then he doesn't come out of the side. He's a confidence player, but he's also very hard-working.We want to attack. We just have to take our chances."
"Blackpool have gone eight unbeaten and have done particularly well in the league," he said. "They got a win last Saturday they were 2-0 down; they got two penalty-kicks; and the goalkeeper fumbled the ball for the third goal for them to score. It was big win for them. Wins are vital in this league because, as you saw last season, when you do win games, you can get yourself motoring up the league. They have won only two games this season so you can see, in this league, it is very tight. There are not a lot of teams eight who have won more than two games. They have played a lot of games at home. We have played six games away from home this season already we have only played three games at home in league and cup. So we have had a lot of travelling to do and they have had the home comforts. Being at home is always good for us. We want to get that first win in board and we have been working hard to do that."
"We feel that, last Saturday, if we had gone ahead in the game, it would have been our three points, but it wasn't to be. It was a very good performance from us. We were very disappointed we didn't get the win that we felt we deserved. There were some good opportunities in the game from both sides but we felt we had the better of the opportunities."
As Argyle prepare to face Blackpool, Matt Macey spoke out about how determined he and his team mates are to find their way out of the current mess: "It's been a difficult start, results-wise; in my opinion, performance-wise, we've not been bad in those games. We could have won quite a few games. In the game at the weekend, and especially the first four or five games, it could have gone either way. It's frustrating in that sense, but it gives everyone the feeling that it will change; we just need things to turn our way. I think we saw that on Saturday, how we recovered from a tough week the week before. It feels like the team has all the factors it needs to have a successful season, which I'm sure it will be. Obviously there's been a lot of change but there are boys who have been here last year. I'm still learning the game and I've been asking them: "How did things change last year? How long did it take and were you down the bottom this much?" They have given a lot of reassurances to a lot of the young boys; they've said it's similar, but there are ways to get round it. A lot of the time, it's just luck falling your way a little bit and doing the right things consistently. Results haven't been what we wanted and that has been surprising for me," he said. "When I first came in, I saw the quality we had throughout the team from back to front. I think we've got immense quality. Given our league position, that is quite surprising; it makes you think we'll be able to turn it around."
"We were really solid for five games before we had a tough week the week before last where the goals went in. If we defend like that this season as a team, we'll be absolutely fine. Everyone could see how solid we were. You talk about back five but I thought, as an 11, we were really solid the midfield with G in front and Freddie running his socks of like he does every game in terms of our shape and how compact we were at times. There was a spell at the start of the second half where we were under the cosh and we were really solid. Our fitness came through in the last 20 minutes and we should have won it. It was really nice to feel really confident when everyone in front put a shift in."
Matt Macey spoke of the refreshing enjoyment of being part of a regular starting eleven for Argyle after years of trying to establish his place in the side at Arsenal. He said: "The move all came about because of Harry's injury; it was about a week before the start of the season, so things needed to be done quickly. I was waiting all pre-season; I was ready to go, when that opportunity came up and, within a few days, I was down here and prepping for the Walsall game. Since I turned 21, I've been looking at getting out on loan and playing, and be the one that's on the pitch, not in the stand or on the bench and waiting my turn. I'm just really happy that I'm playing once a week, or twice a week, because that gets me going in the morning. In terms of where I was at this stage last year, I just love being involved in the environment and playing every week."
"I didn't go through the Academy environment until I was a bit older, so it took a bit longer for me to get games under my belt compared to other goalkeepers my age. I feel this loan is about proving myself, rather than learning. I've really enjoyed it so far, playing every week, twice a week sometimes; I enjoy the challenge of it. Results obviously haven't been ideal but there is a positivity around the place; there's a confidence within ourselves to change it. Everyone wants to move to a higher level but I have to understand that I've only played League Two before here; I've not played League One yet, so, before I move on to the next level, I've got to prove I'm good enough for this level."
"There will be someone watching every game, whether that be a coach or a scout, just to monitor my progress. They want to know how I'm getting on and that's important for them. Ultimately, being on loan is a lot of being off the pitch and adapting to your surroundings, and just being at another club. So they want to let me go and grow up and learn to survive on my own without all their help. The way football is now, you have to travel and commit to it if you want to develop your career. I was prepared to go anywhere to play football this season, even if that meant going abroad. I'm quite lucky that Plymouth is not too far from home. I want to be playing every game. I've said before that I'm not coming here as a young 'keeper to learn or develop I'm coming here to prove myself at this level and get results. It's completely different when you're in reserve or youth football; it's one game a week; and when you go to Under-23s football, you play once every three weeks. So that toll on your body to recover and that need to be switched on every two days is completely different, especially for a goalkeeper. Mentally, you get tired if you play eight games in four weeks so the challenge for me is staying focussed throughout all those games. Three points is a massive thing for us, even at this early stage. So we'll go into it being positive. We were solid at Bristol Rovers on Saturday; we have something to build on; there's confidence around the place that we can go and get a good result on Saturday.
"The crowds have been phenomenal, especially away crowds obviously we sold out a few times. When they're down the far end and I'm at the top end when you see a goal, there's nothing like it. Even though it's been a tough start, some of the boys have said they have been amazed that the fans have stuck with us. Even going back to the Peterborough game, they didn't get on our backs or anything. They just kept with us. I've never come across that in football. It's unbelievable really, so we're very lucky."
Simon Hallett has explained why he and his wife Jane have invested so heavily into his local club, citing a love for the football club and the local area. He explained to fans: "I like it. My wife likes it. I like being part of the community asset. I like the people involved. I have really loved how Jane has been embraced by those fans that she knows. She had never watched any sports other than tennis before. We like being part of the Argyle family. I have got some money and I'm happy to use it for a community asset. "I hope we can grow the family. I really want to keep that feel about that. The glorious thing is that David and I were schoolboys in Plymouth and here we are now running the local football club. Isn't that wonderful."
Following some criticism for a less than sparking start to the season, Graham Carey has admitted that he is his own harshest critic in situations like this. The Irishman accepted: "It is frustrating because they are the kind of standards that I set on myself over the last few years, taking that responsibility, scoring goals, assisting goals and helping the team win. When I'm not playing well, I'm probably the harshest critic of myself. You can't take all the plaudits and then moan about it when you get criticised you have to just take it on the chin. Hopefully, today was a good stepping stone for me to kick back into form. My form hasn't been great this season. The manager left me out. I came back today and I thought there were a few positives, from a personal standpoint, but there is still a long way to go. It is probably that I am being a bit too hard on myself, being a bit rigid and not as free as I usually am, and not playing with that freedom that I usually do. That'll come and hopefully today is a good start."
"It's more individual mistakes that have been costing us last season was red cards; this year its individual mistakes. But they are the kind of thing that you can iron out quite quickly as long as we stick to basics like we did today let the forward players attack and the defence concentrate on keeping a clean sheet. The forwards worked really hard and we nullified what Bristol Rovers were all about. It was a good game for us but we are still disappointed that we didn't get three points. It was more like us today the way we played, the way we were solid at the back, and creating chances. On another day, we could've had two or three goals. I liked the way we kept going at it. Even when we did have chances and didn't take them, we kept on the front foot and we were taking the game to them."
Continuing to talk about the match at Rovers, Carey added: "We've had so many midweek games and it's done us well to stay on the training pitch all week to work on a few things and talk to each other, make sure that we're all in it together. We know it's a long season. I liked the way we kept going at it today, even when we had chances and didn't take them. We kept on the front foot and we were taking the game to Bristol Rovers. We knew that we would outlast them in the game it was just a matter of keeping it tight in the first half and building on it. I that we did that really well. It was more like us, the way we played the way we were solid at the back and creating chances. On another day, we could've had two or three."
"Especially with new players coming in and getting used to what the club is all about and how we played the last few years, it's going to take time. But, hopefully, with the work we've done on the training pitch and seeing it coming into the game, there were a lot of positives. There is still a lot to work on but, hopefully, this will give us a foothold going forward. Something that we've been really strong on over the last few years is keeping clean sheets; if we're still in the game with half an hour to go, we'll always have chances and that's what happened we just didn't take them."
Manager Derek Adams added that he felt Argyle had by far the better of the game over the 90 minutes and deserved a win from the match. He argued: "Over the 90 minutes, I thought we were the superior team. Anybody here would have seen that. We had the better of the play; we had the better of the opportunities; we should have won by a couple of goals. Their goalkeeper's got man of the match he makes an outstanding save from Graham Carey; we miss an open goal; there are skirmishes on the line. It was going in the top corner and the goalkeeper has made an outstanding save," said Derek. "He was very good for them. He came for crosses all afternoon - he pulled them out of the air - and he looked very confident."
"It was a great chance. The ball came across the six-yard box and it's an open goal, really. We deserved to score that goal at that time. We'd like a wee bit of fortune in front of goal at this moment in time. If the goal goes in, you get a lot of confidence, but you saw, by our play, that it will not be long before we get going. We did keep a very good shape. Matt Macey did make a very good save in the second half from a long-range shot, which he had to do, but, other than that, I don't think they troubled us too much. They had Bennett on one side and Matthews on the other side and we kept them quiet. We were delighted to go in at 0-0 that was the game-plan. After Bristol Rovers started the second half well, we got a grip of it and we should have won by a couple of goals. When we got the ball into the strikers, we did look a threat. Freddie Ladapo was a handful all afternoon and were we just unfortunate not to have got that goal. We really should have been walking away with three points. Our performances this season haven't been a real problem it's been giving away goals. We stopped that and we've been a threat at the other end."
Adams gave particular praise to Joel Grant who changed the game when he was bought on in the 61st minute for Argyle. The manager said: "He was terrific when he came on," said Derek. "He really changed the game in our favour. He took Leadbitter on Leadbitter obviously got substituted time and time again. He took us up the pitch and allowed us to play in that final third. He's a wide player and, with wide players, you sometimes don't get that consistency all the time, but we have seen, in training this week, that he can take people on. He's got outstanding ability. He needs to do it more, but he's that type of character. We try to get it out of him all the time."
Finally, Adams re-stated his faith that this season would prove to be a good one for Argyle in the long run. He stated: "We'll be fine this season," said the Pilgrims' manager. "We'll be in a good position. We've got a very good squad and we'll be pushing on. We just need to get the wins together and we'll get that if we play as we did today for the next 39 games; we'll be in a very good position."
"I've gone for experience in the back four. We went for a defensive unit. We've got Ash and Tafari Moore, who can get forward, and this moment in time is maybe not for that. We need to be solid. We'll get to a stage when we're going to play expansive football, but it's not for this time. We had a clean sheet. We looked solid. We played forwards; we didn't play backwards we've worked on that, to play in their half. We played a number of balls into the area that might have looked like loose balls but it was to try to put Bristol Rovers under pressure."
"They'll be happy with a point. We always want to get three points, but they stayed to the end and clapped the team off the pitch they know the efforts the players are giving. It is difficult for us because we would have hoped to have come away with three points, with the display we had, but we will have to go away having taken a point and with a clean sheet."
Argyle have their first away point of the season following a 0-0 draw at Bristol Rovers. In a game where both sides had chances but neither managed to convert, both continued to languish around the bottom of the table. Argyle: Macey, Riley(Wootton), Edwards, Canavan, Sawyer, Songo'o, Sarcevic, Ness (Taylor), C Grant(J Grant), Carey, Ladapo. Subs: Letheren, Smith-Brown, O'Keefe, Lameiras.
Derek Adams has said his players currently not touching the starting line-up need to improve their form before they are selected for a return to the side, explaining: "People will say 'Do you know your perfect side?' Obviously, you do know your perfect side, but that perfect side hasn't been the perfect side for a variety of reasons. People have not performed, maybe, to the way that we had hoped they would. It's about trying to get a bit of confidence in players that are going to do well, and go forth. It's up to them to get back to the form they had shown last season, and the seasons gone, and they will do. The ones that are not in the 18 at this moment in time haven't done well enough to get into our 18. We have spoken with them. They will keep on pushing along. They are in the squad of 24. You have got to have a squad and, at this moment in time, the 18 that are in the 18 the best ones for that particular game, or the best ones we feel that are doing well enough to be in the 18. The other ones are not better than the 18 at this moment in time."
As Argyle prepared to face Bristol Rovers in League One, Derek Adams looked ahead to the game as a chance for two teams who had had bad starts to the season to improve. He said: "The end behind one of their goals is very hostile, and fair play to their supporters they make it that way. Our players have to get themselves ready for that. They were ready for it last week against Portsmouth and they will be ready for it this week. But we have gone there in the past and come away with some good results. From our point of view, it is a great game to go into. We have to be more clinical in the final third, and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to work out that we have to do better at the back, as well, and stop making errors that are leading to the goals against Portsmouth, we gave the ball away and, two passes later, they score. These kind of things have to be eradicated. We have to be better at not being risky with the pass and, once we have given it away, we have to be better at closing the ball down."
Finally, Adams stated the importance of looking at the positives rather than the negatives in spite of a worrying start to the season. He said that his outlook on life in that regard may differ to some supporters: "We are in a very good position at this moment in time," he said. "The structure of the football club over the last three years is a lot better on the footballing side; we showed that the other night in the Premier League Cup, and the first team is in League One. We want to continue to be there. We've got a stronger squad this year, than we had last year there's no doubt about that. Competition for places is a lot better and that will only help us in the coming weeks. We would like to have more points there's no doubt about that. Wins are important, they always are, we have seen that from last season and seasons before. Once we get that win and get moving forward, then we'll gain confidence from that. We've got 40 games to play; there's 120 points to play for. There is a long way to go in the season. Yes, everybody gets worked up wee bit because you haven't picked up points, but we've done well in games and we feel that, in some games, we should have picked up more points than we did. We feel that, at times, we've been a wee bit hard done by. We had a penalty claim which was a stonewall penalty against Portsmouth and, one minute later, they go and score that goes against us. So we just need the tide to turn a wee bit in our favour."
"Some people will be on it that don't understand the running of a football club. They don't know what's happening behind the scenes. I'm an outsider. I've moved into this area. What I do see sometimes in the area is that it might be sunny and a beautiful day today, but somebody will tell you it's going to rain tomorrow. That's something that's in the personality here which does concern me. If there's a positive, somebody always wants to get a negative in, which is not a good thing - we're not positive, positive, positive. That's something we'll have to change. At this moment in time, we're in a situation where we don't want to be, and, as we've shown last year, we're quite capable of picking up points and getting out of it."
Conor Grant looked ahead to his first game at the Memorial Stadium in the hope that Argyle may use the game to trigger their first win of the League One season, saying: "I don't think I've played Bristol Rovers before. We need to go there and believe in ourselves. They're in a similar situation, but I don't look at the table, it's not something that interests me. We need to focus on ourselves and getting better as a team. We want to silence the crowd early and make sure it's not the best atmosphere for them. There's a lot of quality in the squad, but we can't keep saying that. We need to get the win, whatever we do to get it. We just need to get that first win, then build. I'd say that against Peterborough and last week we were out of the game, but the rest of them were we in it and gave silly pens away, or decisions haven't gone our way which we can't complain about, we just have to get on with it. I feel like on some days we would have picked up points in some of those games."
Conor Grant, whilst recognising Argyle's poor start to the season in terms of picking up the points, looked at the positives regarding his own personal development as a player. He noted: "I feel happy that I have played all eight games. It means a lot. It is something that I wanted to do, to play as many games as possible. Of course you want to win games, and results haven't been good, and ultimately that's been the real disappointment. The more minutes I get, the better I'll be. It's been a good start from that perspective. It was all in a short timeframe, in about four weeks, so it was tough on the body. I haven't had that for a while, but it will stand me in good stead. We've got quality in the squad; G puts an unbelievable ball in, so if I'm on them, my set-pieces have got to be really good. On a Thursday or Friday I spend 20 minutes after the session, where I grab a couple of defenders to get involved in that. It's a great club; a family club; everyone pulls together and that's why it hurts more when you lose. You feel like you are letting a lot more people down. With the backing we have got, the fans, even with the run we have been on, the fans were still cheering us as loud as they can. It means so much to us, the players, and we are trying to put it right for them."
Derek Adams attributed individual responsibility as the primary reason for Argyle's 3-0 loss at Portsmouth rather than structural weaknesses within the team and called upon all of his side to step up. He said: "They got their goals through errors from ourselves, Giving the ball away in the middle of the park does help. That's where two of the goals came from. We had easy possession of the ball and they get two goals out of it. Individually we have to do better. It is about individual responsibility. If you give the ball away in the middle of the park, you can't do anything that as a coach. That comes from individual errors. You have to have a player that is willing to run back. We didn't have that; you'll see it on the video footage. Joe Riley is exposed two on one and if you look at it one of our players doesn't run back."
"We were better in the first half than we were in the second half. I don't think the changes helped us. We didn't create enough opportunities did we? We made the change to try to do it. We've had a difficult three games. We have to get better, there's no question about that, but we will do."
Adams also took time to rue a refereeing decision that he felt was pivotal in the outcome of the game, Argyle being denied a penalty just before Pompey's opening goal. Adams: "The game changed in the first half with a refereeing decision. It was a stonewall penalty on Freddie Ladapo, and there were two other claims in the first half. If they are given then it is a different ball game away from home. The advantage then went to Portsmouth and they got the goals after that. The decision in the first half was a clear penalty kick. From the great view I had, I saw Freddie put the ball over the goalkeeper, and the goalkeeper went right into him. Freddie got a touch on it and got absolutely smashed by the goalkeeper. Stuart O'Keefe got smashed by the goalkeeper as well, and another with Sarcevic could have been a penalty kick. They were three penalty claims the first one was a stonewaller."
Gary Sawyer admitted that he (as well as all of the players) were feeling some amount of hurt but that they were the ones who needed to step up and cut out individual mistakes if Argyle were to turn their fortunes around this season. Sawyer said: "You shouldn't be a footballer if you aren't hurt by what has happened today and in the last couple of games. It's completely up to us to turn it around; get everyone's heads on it; and stop making mistakes. The hard bit to take is that it's pretty much mistakes which are costing us. Teams aren't tending to carve us open in scoring a goal we are almost handing it to them, which is making the game impossible to win and making it very hard for us. Individual errors happen at every level in football, from the top to the bottom. Unfortunately, all ours have come in the space of a couple of weeks. So we need to take out the little individual mistakes we're making. We're all making them, so it's not a witch-hunt every defender in the team is doing that and it goes all the way through the team, not just the defenders. We need to work on that; get back to doing what we're good at, what this club is built on; and we'll move on from that."
"It's September 1 today we have got the whole season ahead of us," said the Argyle captain. "We have got a lot of games and we need to get the belief back into the dressing-room that we can run over the top of boys. We're fit; we just need to take out individual mistakes. There is a lot of time left in the season, but this is something we need to sort out now, today. It took us until December to get out of the bottom last season. We left it late, and that's not something we want to do this year. We didn't want to start like we have. Unfortunately, we have done that. It's down to us, now, to put the work in. There's a lot of points left on the table. We've been in this position before. We now need to work back to getting to back what we were like last year, back to getting stronger. We're obviously conceding too many goals and it starts there."
"We've had a long chat with each other in there, the boys and the coaching staff. Everyone aired what they wanted to say. Against Portsmouth, it's always a tough game we know that; they are flying; they are riding high and we are struggling where we are at the minute. It's not like us to come and get pushed aside; it's normally tight games. We pride ourselves on that through every game, not just this one. We've let that slip a bit. It's now about getting our heads back on it and getting back to the training-ground that's the only place where we can sort it out. No-one is defeated in that dressing-room; everyone is ready to go. That starts again on Monday."
Argyle's miserable run of form has continued with a 3-0 loss at Portsmouth leaving the greens rooted to the bottom of the league. One goal before half-time and two after it with no return only serve to entrench worries about the way Argyle have started the season. Argyle: Macey, Riley, Edwards, Sawyer, Smith-Brown, Songo'o(Lameiras), O'Keefe(Fox), Sarcevic, Ness, C Grant(Carey), Ladapo. Subs: Letheren, Wootton, J Grant, Taylor.
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