On his thoughts about the game and the difference between the first half and second halves.
Well I think you’ve explained it very well, actually. Up and down and a game that we didn’t seem to want to win. Should've been clear. I think we scored an unbelievable goal, I asked the players for a quick start and we got it. It was an incredible goal, great move from our right deep, across through them and then Cameron, he’s really looking to play now, Cameron Iwasa. Always a bit worried to say somebody’s name, but he’s just got to believe now because that’s what he can do.
We got away, we then were loose from the second phase from a corner, we allowed them too much space for them to come inside and finish. It was unlike us, we’ve been tight in those areas before. And they were back in the game.
We then went on again, chances. Cameron had a very big chance in the box with the post. We couldn’t put them to bed. And it was that way all night. We get back in the lead, we throw it again. But what we have to say again is the character of the players. Sometimes in the end you have to win, have to find a way to win and we did. We seem to be able to kick once we concede, we seem to be able to go again. But we must learn to manage games better, to control games, and be a little bit more clinical.
On the early goal and what it did for the team early on.
I was delighted to get the goal so quickly. I’ve really liked us this week in training, the way we’ve trained, the way we’ve been. We spoke about complacency, I said on Friday to Bill [Patterson] that that was the only thing that would let us down, a bit of complacency. I think we struggled to take a proper grip of the game. It’s almost as if we sort of messed around with the game, a bit of cat and mouse and saying we’ll be ok. And then we concede. The goals we conceded I wasn’t happy with at all. They were able to throw the ball directly into their striker’s feet. There has to be protection. Koval and Auggie are in there to protect that. There should be no clear line of pass through to their strikers. They were able to do it and they finished very well. I mean, their two goals they took very well.
Klimenta at the end, Iwasa before that with the good header, set play — we thought we could catch them out from set plays — and then Emrah at the end, he’s done exactly what I’m looking for. Deliver the ball early, put it in an area, ask a question, and we got back in front. But even at the end, we sort of invited a bit of pressure. What we’ll have to do is dust ourselves down — delighted with the win, it’s about winning — and see how we can improve. But it’s always that way anyway.
On the injury to Derek Foran and how it might have had an effect on the game.
No, there was no excuse for the goals at all. They were preventable, they really were. We shouldn’t allow free hits on our goal; we’ve not done that. That’s why we’re at the top of the league, because we were able to be solid. We weren’t on two occasions and they punished us. They’re a good side, they’re a very good team, I like the way they play.
We decided to press them high early in the game, probably didn’t work. So we decided to drop off and I think in open play we were fine, we were absolutely fine, We were caught out from two set plays, really. One a second phase and the second from a throw, I think. It was just too easy. I mean, to throw the ball in and we don’t touch the ball again wasn’t good enough and that’s something we’ll have to work on.
On if the defense is relaxing with the recent offensive success.
I’m not sure tonight it was the defenders, I think it was the protection in front. The game is built on getting the ball in to striker’s feet normally, or in behind. That’s what the game’s built on, attacking. And we’ve been very good at screening that, so we’ve kept a lot of shutouts. Our midfielders have been very good at screening off. We didn’t do that tonight. We allowed them space, we allowed balls in and they punished us. And that’s why they’re at the right end of the table as well because they have some quality.
It was two good teams, great atmosphere, our fans pushed us all the way to the end. And I was pleased that we could score three goals, and they were good goals. We look a dangerous team now. We look like we can win games, we are winning games. We’ve always got to improve but I’m so pleased with the boys and like I say, they were the type of goals we want to see at Bonney Field.
On the importance of the comeback win.
Yeah it was huge for us. I mean, unfortunately we gave up the lead twice, but we kept showing a lot of fight, a lot of resiliency to come back. After they equalized we get another one and then they equalize again and we got that last one. Always feels good to win at home for sure.
On whether or not he thought Emrah Klimenta was trying to shoot or cross on the game winner.
*Laughs* I don’t know, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
Pretty good goal though, right?
Oh yeah, absolutely. Crucial time as well.
On the Republic’s recent run of games.
Yeah, we’ve been ob a very good run. We’re hot right now. We’re showing a lot of confidence on the field, there’s a lot of confidence in the locker room. When we step ot there we believe we can win every game, we expect to win every game. Recently we’ve shown that we’re definitely a tough team to beat.
On his first goal being the fastest in Republic history.
It’s pretty cool. Whenever you’re a part of history it’s pretty awesome.
On what happened in that play
Danny found me in a really good pocket. I took a couple touches and the defenders kept backing off, so I smacked it. Luckily it found the target inside the post. It’s a hell of a feeling, I’ll tell you that.
On his second goal, the header in the second half.
Danny’s service all night was great. I was just able to out-jump my defender, got a solid header on it and it found a corner. That one definitely felt good as well.
On the team’s newfound confidence on offense.
I don’t think there was ever any doubts. I know at the beginning of the season a lot of the fans were worried that we were having trouble scoring goals. I mean, our team never lost confidence. We always knew what we were capable of and we’re showing it now. Not a whole lot has changed, it’s mostly the same personnel out there. It’s just finding a rhythm, a little team chemistry, everything starts coming together.
On his on-field familiarity with Danny Barrera and where it comes from.
I mean, yeah, going back to last year me and Danny shared the pitch a decent amount last year and we definitely developed a good chemistry between the two of us. But it’s not just me and him, it’s the whole front four and really the whole team, our outside backs getting forward. Everyone’s kinda on the same page. The combinations are there,and the ball movement’s really good, it’s leading to a lot of chances. We had three goals but we easily could’ve had four or five tonight. The ball movement’s been fantastic.
On what happened in the build up to Klimenta’s goal.
I popped it back out to Emrah and, you know, if you put it in a dangerous area good things happen. It was a great ball in. If he was shooting or crossing we’ll never know, but fortunately it found the inside of the goal.
On his second goal being the first corner kick goal of the season.
Yeah, I mean, even dating back to last season we’ve struggled with the set pieces and that’s something that Paul’s had us working really hard on, trying to find some chemistry on the set pieces. To see it finally break through, I mean, we had various other opportunities — especially in the first half — that we could've scored a goal on, so to finally get the breakthrough is great and hopefully it just opens the floodgates.