Manager frustrated at missed opportunity in the Papa Johns Trophy and calls for calm heads and hard work from his players to get back to the standards they have set.
- Darrell Clarke | “Calm heads and hard work will get us back to our standards”
- Port Vale manager reflects on his side’s 1-0 defeat at Salford City in the Papa Johns Trophy Round of 16
- Clarke: “We huffed and puffed and had enough opportunities in the game – so did they to be honest – we tried to change things around a little bit, but it wasn’t to be.”
Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke says Tuesday night’s defeat at Salford City in the Papa Johns Trophy was a missed opportunity for his side as they exited the competition at the last 16 stage.
Clarke watched on as his side fell behind to an early Matt Smith header, with both sides hitting the woodwork in pursuit of more goals in the game.
Reflecting post-match with iFollow the Vale, Clarke said his side must remain calm and work hard to get back to the high standards they have set this season.
“It is a missed opportunity,” Clarke explained. “We are not hitting the standards that we were two or three weeks ago so we have to get back to it.
“I am not here to make excuses, we have to perform better as a staff and as a group and we will do.
“It was frustrating to go behind so early in the game; we had a great chance with Mal Benning one-on-one with the keeper and we had talked about crosses into the box and stopping [Matt] Smith getting on the end of it and they scored from that, which means you are then chasing the game.
“We huffed and puffed and had enough opportunities in the game – so did they to be honest – we tried to change things around a little bit but it wasn’t to be.
“It was end-to-end and we tried to stay in the cup tie so we put more attacking players on the pitch, we huffed and puffed and had many opportunities in the final third in key areas - first and second half - and we didn’t take any.
“It is a time for calm heads in key areas; we are a little bit rushed at times and we need to show a bit of composure and quality that we lacked today and in the last game as well. It is up to us to make sure we get back to the performance levels that we know we are capable of.
“We are frustrated and the group know that, which is good, and the only way to get back to hitting the standards is to get back to working hard on the training pitch to make sure the performances pick up, and they will do.
“They’re an honest set of lads, they realise that we are not at the standards that we should be hitting and we need to get back to it. There are always stages through the course of the season that this happens and like I said to the lads, it is about calm heads and hard work now.
“We are in a healthy position in the table and we are looking forward to regrouping and moving forward.”