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Adam Lakeland’s Post-Chorley Comments: Happy With Effort Levels, Focusing on Own Game

By Ben Swain

Adam Lakeland provided an update on his squad’s preparation for the now-suspended Hereford fixture on Saturday.

The manager was interviewed prior to Friday’s announcement of the two-week suspension of the National League North & South, active immediately.

In your post-match reaction [against Chorley], you showed your frustration at the performance. Was there a good reaction in training?

AL: Yeah. We trained on Tuesday night and we had another discussion about the performance levels in the Chorley game.

I had to be honest with the players and tell them I expected more from them and the performance that I saw wasn’t to the required level which is ultimately why we came away with nothing. To say we were winning the game at 1-0, 2-1, certainly with like 10 minutes to go, is frustrating.

But I’ve cleared the air on it now and the lads trained well. We’ve just got to try and perform better in our next game.

It could have been viewed that we are still in a good run of form, and it was just a one off, so why were you so keen to address that?

AL: Because experience tells me if you don’t and you accept lacklustre performances then you can quickly fall into a rut of putting in too many substandard performances and in this league, you can’t afford to do that. You’ve got to be performing at your maximum in every game to give yourself a chance of getting a result.

The players have been in incredible form, they’ve been superb.

As I said to them, I’m the first person to come out and defend them, to applaud them, support them and they know that but equally, it’s my job as the manager to tell them when I feel like we slipped below the standards that I expect.

As players, they understand that and they’ve gotta take that. Just because we’ve had a decent run through November and December, that’s irrelevant. We’ve got to try and keep the consistency of the performance levels high if we want to keep putting points on the table and it’s important we remind ourselves of that and that’s what we’ve got to look to do in the coming games.

I know you demand a lot in terms of work-rate and effort, are you still pleased with where that’s at?

AL: I want to kind of state that my issues at Chorley weren’t the effort levels of the players. I can very rarely the question the effort levels and commitment of this group of lads.

My frustration and disappointment in the performance at Chorley was how wasteful we were when we had opportunities to play, our use of the ball from back to front was nowhere near good enough. We didn’t control the game enough when we were in possession when we were leading the game.

So it was more around our technical qualities, our inability to control the game when it needed controlling instead of allowing the game to become stretched, using the ball better when we had opportunities to counter-attack or to sustain attacks and deliver quality into the box. The quality of our play just wasn’t where it needed to be.

I think in the first-half, in particular, in the moments we actually clicked and strung a few passes together – we got in or we scored.

I genuinely felt at the half, if we’d have been better with the ball in the second half, we could have taken the game away from them. But our inability to do that kept Chorley in the game and they grew stronger as the game went on and the momentum certainly swung with them and in the end, that was enough for them to secure all three points.

It wasn’t the work-rate at all, it wasn’t the commitment of the players and I think it’s important to stress that. We certainly have to be better in possession and with our use of the ball than we were at the weekend.

You’ve mentioned in the past couple of weeks about the size of the squad and I know to a point the inability to get players out on loan is adding to that. Has there been any thought of changes for the Hereford game in terms of personnel?

AL: Ultimately, we’ve been in great form because we’ve been able to field such a settled team and while there is disappointment over the last performance, I also can’t forget this group of players only lost two in 12 before the Chorley game, one of which was obviously the Boston defeat which we had several changes anyway.

So you look at that and think ‘well Alfreton’s the only defeat in 11 league games’ so I certainly won’t be making several changes for the Hereford game because every player at every level can have a below-par performance and maybe the Chorley game was just one of those days for us where too many players were below par.

Certainly, when you have that kind of performance, it makes you question your selection and makes you reassess the options you have and we certainly have plenty of options because of the size of the squad.

We may make one or two changes, we may leave it the same but whoever goes out onto the pitch, they’ve got to perform and they know there are players waiting in the wings chomping for the opportunity.”

Would you look towards Hereford and say this is tactically a different game because that could suggest changes as well?

AL: I think maybe, in the past, I may have been too focused on or too cautious with how the opposition play and tweaking our system a little bit too much whereas in the recent good run we’ve had we’ve kind of focused more on ourselves and we’ve tried to be organised, disciplined, structured, to deny the opposition but we’ve also tried to be positive with having two players either side of Jimmy to make sure we pose more of a threat from an offensive point of view and I think ultimately doing that has seen us win quite a few games in the last couple of months.

It’ll certainly be a different challenge but we won’t be moving too far away from we’ve been doing in recent games.

On a final note, academy player Louis Fialdini joined in training on Tuesday. What was your impression of him?

AL: It’s hard to say because we were training in the sports hall and there’s not a great deal of space.

I think although it was a fitness and technical session followed by some small-sided games, that Louis certainly recognised that there’s a massive jump in level.

He’s obviously been scoring a lot of goals in the youth team and Rossy (Neil Ross, Academy Manager) asked if we’d take a look at him and that’s what we’re doing. It’s too early to say.

He’s got that opportunity to train with us because of his performances in the youth team and the u23s and that sets a good example for the rest of the lads that are playing in those teams, that if people are doing really well and we get the call from Rossy then we’ll certainly have a look at them.

At the same time, they’ve got to realise that the step up is massive. We’ll give him plenty of opportunities to train with us and see how he gets on.

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