Port Vale manager reflects on 0-0 draw with Oxford United in League One.
- Darrell Clarke | “We responded today with a battling performance”
- Port Vale manager reflects on 0-0 draw with Oxford United in League One.
- Clarke: “We responded today with a battling performance and, but for their keeper pulling off a couple of great saves, we would have been talking about three points.”
Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke praised his players response to their Good Friday defeat at Accrington Stanley as the Valiants battled to a 0-0 draw against Oxford United at Vale Park on Easter Monday.
Reflecting post-match, Clarke said his side’s mentality and character was better and the performance gives his side a platform from which they can build in the final five matches.
“It wasn’t pretty at times but I thought we had the better chances in the second half,” Clarke explained. “We were looking for a response from the display at Accrington, so we take a point and try and use this as a platform.
“It was important because – rightly so – questions were asked about us as a group, and I understand that, after three of our last four performances were nowhere near good enough and the players were well aware of that.
“We responded today with a battling performance and but for their keeper pulling off a couple of great saves, we would have been talking about three points.
“We have to use that as a platform; we have a lot of work to do, we have still got five games to go and still need enough points to make sure we secure our status in League One, which was the goal from the start of the season.
“It has been a really disappointing second half of the season for us and we have to have a good reaction in these last five games. It is important we try and finish the season on a high.
“The players were in on Saturday and Sunday and I asked them to show mentality and confidence; that is why I picked an experienced team because they have been through bad ruts at times in their careers and we had to respond.
“It is a clean sheet; that was very important because we haven’t defended particularly well in three of the last four games so hopefully that gives the boys a bit of confidence.”
Clarke handed a league debut to Port Vale Academy youngster James Plant in the second half following the youngster’s impressive loan spell at Salisbury FC.
Both Plant and Tommy McDermott have now returned to Vale Park, with Clarke praising the former as he made his league debut.
“Planty is a great lad,” Clarke said. “He has deserved that opportunity to come on and there will be more to come from him, that’s for sure, because he has grown in the last 12 months.
“He will be pleased that he has got on and made a league appearance.”