Steve Evans talks to www.themillers.co.uk
We caught up with manager Steve Evans at the training ground this morning to put a number of questions to him as we do on our weekly 'Gaffer on a Sunday' feature.
What are your thoughts after you have watched a DVD and had time to reflect on yesterday's disappointing loss to Barnet?
The DVD if anything highlighted what we discussed with the players after the match, some of that will remain in-house.
In summary we started the match really brightly and for the first 20 minutes it was as good as we have started a match in a long time, but we make two big individual mistakes and we are a goal down and chasing the game.
From that moment we as a team went too direct in our approach play and it made it easier for the Barnet lads to defend. At half-time we reminded the players to pass the ball and be patient but as can happen they got caught up in trying to score rather than create chances to score. Also, it is clear on the DVD we created six good clear chances to score in the second period and that led to us leaving gaps at the back as we tried to get that elusive goal.
With the benefit of hindsight I got my team selection wrong on the day and I hold my hands up. I told this to my players this morning, we all win together and we share the losses together. From last week I had two enforced changes and I made five, it was a step to far but having beaten myself up overnight I need to let the players move on and be positive.
This morning I also met with each of the players individually and that was very constructive. We have put together an excellent squad, good players and fine me who are all up for the challenges we face. We are down this morning and many will criticise but we will remain strong as a group. It is not about being down, it is all about getting up and fighting for what we all want.
Today we have a game in hand and even a point from that will see us in third place again, an automatic promotion place so it is not all bad for sure, some need to realise how tough it really is. We lost to a Barnet team who have beaten the likes of Gillingham and Bradford in recent weeks, we have no given right to win these matches.
Our supporters had a right to be disappointed yesterday and I have no problem with that, they want what we want and that is the Millers winning, I was devastated.
You have said you had individual meetings with all the squad, what if anything was discussed?
These meetings were always going to happen this week, they have been scheduled for weeks but we used this morning to get them all done. I also had a very positive meeting with the Chairman, as always it was constructive and about how we can make the team better.
With each player we reviewed the first part of the season, what we have done well, what we can improve on and used the time to come up with some going forward action points.
Unlike some other clubs I have always operated in a no mysteries criteria, that goes two way with the players. We as a group of staff want our players to improve and we are here to facilitate that as we go forward.
The lads said how much they enjoyed the meetings and the interaction in them so if in any way it has helped then it has been a good day.
What is on the agenda for this week?
For the players it will be a full week on the training ground as we prepare to face a very in-form Oxford United but it is a match I wish was tomorrow, the lads want to get yesterday out their systems.
The training will obviously depend on the weather as I am told we should expect the training pitch to be frozen and perhaps snow bound but obviously we hope that is not the case.
Can we expect any transfers, either loan or permanent this week?
The short answer to that is yes but I will not be saying anymore. As always my Chairman has been very supportive and reminded us today that this new squad of players was ahead of where he expected us to be, one game in hand and as I said a win in that will see us third in the league table and I do not kid anyone, I am still disappointed with that.
With the results in League Two yesterday clearly demonstrating how tough it is, what are your views as we go into the second half of the season?
This really is a good question. Yesterday I did say clearly how tough it is and believe me it will not get any easier, any team can beat anyone on the day.
I know now it is the teams who deliver the greater consistency who will get promoted and I believe we will be one of them. This is the toughest League Two in many seasons but I really do believe in this squad of players.
Our supporters have simply been brilliant and I will be doing everything I can to play a part in bringing them the success they deserve, the players have also echoed those words today.
There is no panic here, just a plan for us to get back to winning ways. I told the lads let's keep it all on an even keel, the good and the bad days. I need the players relaxed and focused but at the same time determined.
Every week is now a big one as we go forward and all my focus is on Oxford United, we will need to be at our best.