Boss Graham Westley spoke to the official website after today’s 1-0 win over Notts County and said whilst he wasn’t one to panic, it was good to get the first three points of the season.
He told us, “We’ve had a confidence in what we do. We know that we’re building. We knew we had a difficult start to the season with the number of players we’ve had stepping up to League 1 level. We’ve got lads who are jumping from the Conference and League 2. We know lads can make that jump because we’ve done it ourselves previously but it does take time. Not only are they making the jump but they’re also getting themselves together, trying to gel and trying to understand me as a manager and what I want.
“It was never going to be an easy start despite what everyone was saying. If you’re realistic you know that it was going to be a tough start. That said we’ve been edged out by the odd goal in three games and it was good to turn the corner today with an away victory.”
Today’s victory was Boro’s first clean sheet of the league campaign and the gaffer was pleased with his side’s defending: “In terms of my ‘scare-o-meter’ and my heart-rate, the back four did a good job," he said. "They kept the sheet clean with a minimum of effort, with good organisation, good discipline in their defending, they stayed on their feet and they worked hard at their jobs. It was a really strong back four performance and the goalkeeper behind did his job as well.”
Talking of Chris Day, Westley also said he had no concern when his keeper was adjudged to have handled just outside his area in the first half.
“I don’t think you could say that there was a sense of a goal scoring opportunity there. An error of judgement by Daisy maybe but certainly not a goal scoring opportunity and I thought the ref handled it absolutely right. Whether it was outside the area or not, I probably thought it was, I couldn’t tell but he issued the decision and think he handled it absolutely right.”
Roarie Deacon made his full league debut at full back in a move that surprised many fans and whilst not one to usually speak about individuals, the gaffer gave his opinion when it was put to him that the former Arsenal and Sunderland man had put in a fine performance.
“Roarie has come to the club as a player who plays wide or plays in behind the front," GW explained. "But in a very quiet moment he casually mentioned to me that he’d played a bit of full-back in his Arsenal days. You’ve saw today what a determined defender he is, he competes aerially, he’s terrific on the ball, he can get you playing and he’ll be very pleased with his league debut at full-back and I’m sure he’ll look back at it with a sense of pride because he played very well.”
With Greg Tansey, Oumare Tounkara and Simon Heslop all coming on as substitutes today it was clear that the squad is now looking stronger, something which Westley agreed with.
“The whole bench today had started games in the first four games of the season. That shows the sense of confidence I have in them as players. I’ve put starting shirts on them for a reason. They’re out of the side right now for a reason – that being I’m shuffling ingredients to try and find a winning formula – but we’ve got seven players on the bench today who’ve all made starts and that’s positive for us that we’ve got that strength in depth.”
Stevenage now have a few days to prepare for Wednesday’s Capital One Cup tie at Premier League Everton but Westley was reluctant to call it a ‘big day’.
“I don’t know about a big day. I can remember preparing for a big day at Arsenal some years ago. I took my Farnborough side there, we got absolutely battered and it didn’t feel like a big day at all, it was a horrific experience. First and foremost you’ve got to get ready for these games by giving them the respect they deserve. You need to appreciate why those players are at that level and why those clubs are where they are. The only way you can expect to get something from those games is to treat them seriously.
He concluded: “I don’t look at it as a big day, I look at it as the next game and to win any game you’ve got to prepare properly. So we’ve got a lot of preparation to do between now and Wednesday night and if we get it absolutely right we can get some progress. If we don’t then we run a big risk.”