Rotherham United boss Matt Taylor spoke to iFollow Millers on Thursday afternoon as his side look ahead to a Sky Bet Championship clash with West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.
The first team manager reflected on an ‘uncharacteristic’ performance which resulted in defeat against Bristol City, whilst also talking about the squad’s current health after a recent bout of illness.
Also on the agenda was the topic of Hamish Douglas’ first professional contract with the club and the challenge of taking on the Baggies at The Hawthorns on Saturday.
You can find the highlights from the interview below, with all of the video content available HERE on iFollow Millers…
Taylor on his Bristol City reflections...
"It was a strange game to be a part of at the time and now watching it back as well because first half we weren't in a bad position on that football pitch, but it felt like any balls in and around our defensive unit and into the space were dangerous.
"Ultimately we were two goals down and despite getting a goal back ourselves, we had no real opportunities in the second half to speak of. Certainly not of note.
"Goals change games and certainly after how we felt in that first half, we were disappointed.
"We've been trying to put that right on the training pitch this week and we're looking for a much-improved performance."
Taylor on the errors in that game being 'uncharacteristic'...
"We hope and expect to be able to put those behind us.
"It's strange because the goals and the opportunities for the opposition came when we were in a higher position on the football pitch.
"It is more natural for this group to defend a little bit deeper and have bodies behind the ball, but we want to be more aggressive with our style of play and put pressure on the ball and regain it higher up the pitch.
"There are different ways of defending different moments, but I trust the group of players and I trust them to execute more improved performances than we had last weekend in some capacities.
"We've got to be better across the board, myself included. We put last weekend to bed and start focusing on West Brom."
Taylor on drawing a positive from his side's early attacking intent...
"Watching it back it felt like we were creating moments without the end outcome.
"It doesn't count for much if you're having to get the ball out of the back of your net from a moment from nothing.
"We have to keep on honing in on what we're good at and what we're capable of. Where we want to play football on the pitch, but also understanding what we can do, and we're capable of playing better than we did last weekend.
"We felt that was a missed opportunity and that is no disrespect to Bristol City."
Taylor on trying to add that potency at the top end of the pitch, whilst keeping the back door closed...
"We're trying to find a balance.
"We want to be a team that can create different chances and find different routes to goals, but also not taking anything away from that defensive capacity.
"Every meeting I have with this group of players we talk about where we are on the field in terms of our positions. If you do a heat map of this team, unfortunately, we're the deepest teams in the league and defend our box more than anyone else in the league.
"That means that our attacking players are a long way from the opposition goal. We're trying to find ways of layering the pitch and getting them closer and getting them nearer that goal in a game of football.
"We want to hurt the opposition. We can't just hang on in every single game we play in."
Taylor on illness in the camp and whether there is a cleaner bill of health ahead of the weekend...
"We've still got it.
"Staff and players alike, probably family members as well. It is doing the rounds.
"It affected us last weekend and it will probably affect us this weekend. We can't complain about it, it is what it is at this time of year.
"We know we have a little bit of covid and there are a lot of chest infections. Some players aren't quite at there peak and there are a lot of anti-biotics flying around.
"Hopefully we can come through it in a better position than we have been in for the last 10 days or so."
Taylor on Cameron Humphreys' availability...
"He has done some training this weekend, as has Grant Hall.
"Those two players weren't available through illness previously.
"Haks [Odoffin] got onto the bench and did a good job to be a part of the squad, but he's still been a bit under the weather.
"We've lost different staff and players throughout the week, which hasn't been ideal, but as I said previously, it's that time of the year."
Taylor on WBA and their recent upturn in form...
"They would have been in the top three to five teams in the league in terms of being favourites for promotion at the start of the season.
"It's a big club with a good squad of players.
"Due to whatever reason, they didn't start the season particularly well but have picked up a great run of form in recent times.
"We all watched them on Monday and have watched their previous games. They have excellent players for the level.
"Nobody will be surprised if they keep going through this league. Momentum is a big word and their home games they'll be strong.
"There's lots to look out for in terms of the opposition, but as we always speak about, the focus is on ourselves and what we can do this weekend."
Taylor on Hamish Douglas earning his first professional deal...
"He's a player with huge potential.
"He's got a good frame and can move and handle the ball.
"He's got a lot of learning to go through and plenty of progression and he'll do that on the training pitch alongside some loan moves in the next couple of seasons to get him closer and closer to the first team.
"We see him on the first team pitch and playing on the first team level and being a good player as well.
"Hence the contract. It's security for Hamish and his family but it is certainly some security for the football club."