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READ | Taylor's pre-Sheffield United press highlights

7 November 2022


READ | Taylor's pre-Sheffield United press highlights

7 November 2022

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Rotherham United boss Matt Taylor returned to pre-match press duties on Monday as he spoke to iFollow Millers ahead of the short trip across to Bramall Lane for the South Yorkshire derby against Sheffield United.

Following another excellent display against Norwich City - in a game which saw them unfortunate to come out on the wrong end of the scoreline - Taylor heaped praise on his side's effort levels, whilst admitting that the clash with the Canaries had taken further toll on his injury list.

The Millers manager discussed his team news, how he might be able to plug the gaps created by them and the challenge of facing the Blades away from home...

Taylor on Georgie Kelly... 

"First impressions are that it's quite serious. 

"To see him pull up in the manner he did would suggest a significant tear to that hamstring.  

"He'll have a scan in the next couple of days but the symptoms are still there, that looks a significant tear. 

"He'll be out for a number of weeks. 


Taylor on Conor Washington... 

"[Conor] is similar, but it's a knee / joint injury as oppose to a muscular injury - he's awaiting a scan. 

"We are aware of some problems that Conor has had in the past in relation to that knee. 

"It sometimes flares up and it flared up quite dramatically on Saturday during that first half, so we would expect to find out in the next couple of days if he requires surgery. 



Taylor on Grant Hall... 

"It's a lesser muscular injury that Georgie, but still significant enough for him to be unavailable tomorrow night and obviously at the weekend as well. 

"His is one similar to what we've been getting consistently which is a fatigue-based injury, a small strain which will be ten days to two weeks. 

"A scan will give us a definite in relation to that but I don't expect him to play any part certainly this week, and then it's a race against time in the next couple of weeks to see when he's available. 


Taylor on Richard Wood... 

"He is better than I expected. 

"In fairness to Woody, another 90 minutes under his belt up against some top quality players at the weekend.

"He's come through okay, but naturally as he is, after every game there's fatigue, there's stiffness, there's tightness, there's aches and pains. 

"We've tried our best to offload him in terms of Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday. 

"We'll have to see what we've got available elsewhere as to whether or not he starts the game, but hopefully he's available in some capacity. 



Taylor on the timing of the World Cup break... 

"I think we've said all along that we need the break, not just in terms of the bodies and the way they are, but the amount of games we've had in quick succession and a lack of training time within that. 

"I'm also now a little conscious and a little bit worried about that four-week period, the three weeks we've got planned training, we'll have less bodies than we expected to have. 

"Then, all of a sudden, that three-week block that we've got planned for a lot of work and a lot of principles of our play to be coached and be worked on on a daily basis won't be irrelevant, but we'll have less of the main group that we want to work with. 

"We've got to wait and see, we've got to get through this week and then we can start assessing what that four-week period looks like in terms of the bodies who have got those injuries. 


Taylor on competing with Sheffield United despite current circumstances... 

"The same way that we competed at the weekend. 

"You didn't expect those injuries to go down in the first half and then early on in the second half, but the lads found a way of finding an extra drive and extra energy to keep competing against a top team like Norwich - similar to what we did against Burnley with ten men. 

"Things are stacked against us at the moment, but we're not feeling sorry for ourselves 

"It's incredible, I've never been part of two losses like I have been in the last couple of games where we've had such a positive feel around the playing group - and that's down to our performances. 

"If they hadn't have been against top, top teams and in the circumstances they were it might feel different.

"We feel we've been a little bit unlucky, we feel our performances have been close to where they need to be, but as always in football, you have to turn those performances into results. 

"We give ourselves a fighting chance tomorrow night as long as we're competitive, as long as we're tough and hard to beat. 

"Tactically, we have to get a few bits and pieces in line, but in terms of the group that we put out to start the game, they're not fresh by any means, but in terms of their minds and towards what's next, they're in a good place. 


Taylor on his team's impressive mindset...

"Yes, and Paul alluded to it at the weekend. I mentioned it to the group on Saturday. 

"I don't think we'll get any lower than we are right now, we'll never be as weak as we are right now, we'll never have as many things go against as we are having right now, and they still stood up and were counted in that second half. 

"We didn't get the result or the reward that we wanted but in terms of the performance, it was a front-foot performance and for the first time we controlled long aspects of the game in terms of field position. 

"Norwich had their spells and threatened our goal but we weren't deep against a top team and that's a really noticeable factor, where we were able to move the ball and keep them pinned in for certain moments.

"We didn't create quite enough to be able to hurt them consistently, but there are so many positive factors from that performance going into Tuesday night. 

"This groups will, desire, and attitude is something that can never be questioned. 

"We can question their bodies because they're breaking, we can question their skill every now and then, and execution, but in terms of that character aspect of this group - full credit to them. 



Taylor on the need to strengthen in the January window...

"Regardless of the injuries, that was apparent anyway. 

"The most important window is the first window, which is when you realise you're promoted into the next league up and you have a period of probably four and a half months to really prepare and nail down the signings you'll make in that window, and also bed them into a group. 

"January is a chaotic market, it's an inflated market, it's a false market, it's a difficult market because everyone's looking for similar profiles and players, and similar needs and wants. 

"We have to be competitive in that market if we're going to give ourselves a fighting chance of staying competitive in this league. 

"We have to look to improve the squad regardless of the injuries because those injuries will come back - we've not even mentioned Jamie McCart, Shane Ferguson, and Tolaji Bola as well. 

"Those injuries will come back and the strength of the squad will be there at some stage, but it's also the quality and the depth within it. 


What is the most difficult thing about dealing with Iliman Ndiaye... 

"He's one of many - they've got some good players, they're got some good personnel. 

"We've got to have our wits about us, we have to defend well, see out individual moments of quality, which general we've done away from home. 

"I'm not looking for a defensive performance for and foremost. I can't keep asking this group of players to go out and defend for 90 minutes - it's not what I want, it's not what they want, it's not what our fans want. 

"We have to go and attack the opposition and the positive signs from our attacking play in our recent away games have been there for the majority of people to see. 

"As much as you'll mention opposition players, come 10 o'clock tomorrow night I want to be talking about our attacking players - we've not got many left but I want to be talking about them! 


Taylor on striking a balance within his squad... 

"Striking the balance is always challenging as a manager, they go hand in hand. 

"Often a good defensive shape and good structure leads to good attacking moments because you're in the right position to regain, to tidy the ball, and the break through the opposition, but we're away from home so we can't go here, there, and everywhere. 

"There's no bigger challenge than Burnley, Norwich, and Sheffield United so we've got the confidence from what we've seen but we've also been able to hurt them, and trouble the opposition goal

"I just want us to stay in the right areas of the pitch a little bit longer than we have done previously.

"We've got attacking players as well, we've got players who can create individual moments. 

"It was good to get Chieo back on that pitch for longer at the weekend, so he's closer to the 90-minute mark and certainly closer to starting a game, and he's a player who we've seen in the last couple of games can make a difference. 

"We've got a number of players like that, there's no better showcase game than a game against your local rivals. 

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