Marsch on Stuart Dallas injury
So let me start. I want to talk about Stuart Dallas. We don’t think it’s good with his knee and obviously with where we are in the season we will miss him a lot as he is in many ways the heart and soul of the band and one of the guys I think is always at the forefront as a leader and someone who can take on big challenges. So, you know, our hearts and minds are with him and his family and we hope the prognosis is correct, and that he can recover quickly and regain his health and return to the pitch soon.
Is it a knee injury at this point? (for Dallas)
So they went through a scan, and I don’t want to talk about exactly what it is yet because I haven’t gotten enough information. But they say it’s not great. So we’ll see.
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What kind of injury was Liam Cooper and did it matter when it came to defending from set pieces?
Most likely. So first Liam got a weird feeling in his knee and warmed up after he made a pass. Nobody knows exactly what it is and he’ll need a CT scan. We hope, hope it’s not a major problem, but we’ll see. I think you’re right, that was probably a big factor in the set pieces and that’s really a shame, because we defended so well in the set pieces situations and if you pull those two goals back, man, the first 70 minutes, we’re pretty good. A team like Man City who can move the ball and hurt you in so many ways, we had control of many parts of the game. I’m really proud of the guys, I challenged them to play with confidence, to play with conviction, with the ball, to be better and clearer and against the ball at the right times to attack City and make it difficult for them and they did all that. The best part is that we saw the fan response after one game. A 4-0 loss at home and you have seen so much passion and love for this team and this club from our fans. I know some people may have thought I was being facetious or sarcastic when I said it was the best team in the world against the best club in the world. But I mean this. I’ve never seen a place like this and it’s a very unique relationship this club has with its fans and with the city.
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Did you expect to surprise Pep with your line-up?
I’ve played a lot, in my coaching career, my coaching career with three behind and it can be effective if the players understand behaviors and tactics correctly and I feel like for the middle finger – this n It wasn’t perfect – but for the big stretches they were able to execute the game plan, both against and with the ball. Again, the shame is that the two set pieces really make the difference on the day.
Mathematically, it’s not in your and Burnley’s hands because Everton have two games in hand. But, to play like that today, are you confident of getting a result against Arsenal or Chelsea?
Before the game, I told them that we wanted to look each other in the eye at the end of the game and say that was our best, and I think we can do that comfortably. We wanted to have something to take with us and continue to grow from the experience so that we can be ready for the next four massive challenges and I think we can do that. I think we can do it. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I came back from vacation and entered a relegation battle and repeated that I knew it was going to end and I would always believe it and we are ready to do it and the confidence that I have in our group and in the way they work every day and the desire that they have to do whatever it takes gives me a lot of optimism and confidence and so you know it’s not going to be easy but we’re going to keep pushing .
At times today it seemed like all that was missing was calm in the final third. What can you do about it?
Yeah, it was the composure in the final third and the composure multiple times leading into the play that would lead into the final third. And that’s kind of where we are. We still haven’t been able to slow down play in key moments and have enough quality to create bigger chances and bigger goals. Another day, maybe we manage a little better and again, even the Joffy [Joe Gelhardt] luck, Ederson makes such a ridiculous save. But again, if we feel we can play like that against City, then we should feel like we can play like that against anyone.
Do you have a clearer idea now, after two months, of why the team is there?
So much has changed in the past two months. I feel like we’ve been ahead of schedule the whole time and I’m certainly only taking positives from that. It was almost an erasing game. Because Man City are, as I said, the best team in the world and we would have surprised everyone to get points from them. But again, the performance was what really mattered to me. For me, it was not a 4-0 match. I was ready to tell you that at 3-0. Then, of course, they stack an extra one. I think we will take it with us.
Was there some trepidation you had going into the game playing this new system with five at the back. Have you seen enough in the last four or five days of training to think this would work?
No, I felt really good there actually and at the start of the week we had already thought about some things and I said to the staff, I want to come up with a tactical plan that allows us to use five at the back . Then we went through a lot of stuff and then we analyzed a lot of stuff and then we created a game plan for the players and they were very engaged in the process of trying to learn the game plan and then execute. I think they did well. We wanted to be able to still attack them on the wing at times and then we still wanted to be able to combine in front of their backline because we felt we could find advantages there. We wanted to defend on one side of the pitch and really press the moments when we felt we could create a power play and then turn that into opportunities to play forward and specifically transition to the other side. A lot of those things that we were able to achieve, we just couldn’t score enough goals or any goals.
Did you feel like that was a big step forward with the counter press in this game?
Yeah. I think it’s also hard to accept some things along the way that it’s not perfect, that it’s never going to be perfect, and that going from a lot of different things to what I’d like it to move forward doesn’t has never been easy, but I can once again say to our fans, that our players are so committed in every way, and so selfless and do everything they can every day to try to make the fans proud and keep us in this league. So yeah, it’s closer than any of us would like. But whoever the man, let’s carry on.
Stuart [Dallas] seems like exactly the kind of guy you need in these circumstances. It’s going to hurt you, isn’t it?
Yeah that’s why I said he’s in many ways a big part of the heart and soul of our band but we’ve got a lot of guys that we’re going to continue to draw on, and in this situation Obviously, I know Stuart will be missed by us on the team, but you have to think about the person and the type of injury and hope he’s okay and hope he can come back strong. So all of us, our spirits are with Stuart and his family in hope that he can make a full recovery.
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Did you have a little chat with the referee?
I call it Human Behavior 101. So I don’t know if you have that kind of course in England, but we do in the States. If the referee does not behave in a way I deem appropriate, and I ask for things to change, and they don’t change, then I have no recourse but to adjust my behavior. to try to force the referee to change his. Is this a good strategy or not? I will say that after they get the yellow, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they get a yellow in the next game. So it’s at times, without being disrespectful because I have respect for the referees and I know it’s a very difficult job, but when you play for the biggest clubs and teams in the world, it’s normal. I saw it in the Champions League. I have seen in many different phases that the big club get the calls and therefore have to fight.
Burnley looked back on that incredible run and it’s almost as if Leeds have been brought back to it. Is it difficult to maintain this pressure?
Yes, it is a reality. The pressure is a reality, but we must control our reaction to the pressure and focus our energies in order to live within the realities. And the reality is that the more we are able to focus on ourselves in our performance, the more we have been able to control the results and put in place a good performance. Again for me on the table or on the scoresheet it’s a loss but in many ways I think it’s a win and it was 4-0. That’s a crazy thing to say. But that’s really how I feel. This is how I feel.
Have you ever felt such an atmosphere after losing 4-0?
No. Again, it wasn’t facetious. This club is very unique, and so is its fanbase and that’s not flattering either. Maybe fans, our fans, because I’ve only been here a short time. They think it’s pimping. I just call it as I see it.
Did you feel like any of the calls contributed to what happened in the game?
I asked them the fourth referee if he thought the foul that led to the first goal was a foul because I don’t think it was a foul. I think Sterling passes the ball, he can’t reach it, he falls easily and he fouls. So I don’t think it’s a fault. I felt like over time there were a lot of soft fouls that they picked up which can change the momentum of the game and obviously that can frustrate the players but I actually thought that our players stayed pretty focused on the moment and didn’t. did not allow them to be frustrated and we talked about it a little at half-time.