On how he looks at Saturday’s game.
I’m a bit annoyed to be honest. I think we were the better team throughout the game, that’s certainly my opinion. I really like Cincinnati. I like Alan a lot, the way his team’s play. I have a lot of respect for Jeff Berding and their organization. I think it was a matchup that had to be played in preseason.
I was thrilled with the way we played, I think we’ve been robbed. And I never come here and talk about officials, I really don’t, but it’s a mystery — we have a chance after to look on the computer and if I’m wrong, I’ll say I’m wrong, but it was never a penalty in a million years. And it spoils the game because — it’s a preseason friendly but we’re really preparing, which is why we had this fixture because we wanted to treat it like a USL game. It’s going to be very difficult if this is going to continue because even at the end, when there’s three minutes of added time, the game’s over and there’s four and a half.
I know it sounds like sour grapes, but it’s important. It’s important when they’re pushing to try and salvage something from a game that in my opinion should’ve been dead and buried.
But look, I’m very pleased with the way we’ve come together so quickly. It’s a big night for all the debutants and I thought they performed very well. I hope you can see from tonight that we’re going to be a force. We’re starting to get things right. I like the way we pressed the ball. I like the way we got Trevin in behind, he’s a real threat with his pace. And of course the bench was very strong, when you can bring on Williams, Kneeshaw, and Trickett-Smith that’s a plus.
It’s a game we should’ve won absolutely for sure. When you try to talk to the official and they don’t talk back, it’s really frustrating. In the modern game I think there should be communication.
On James Kiffe’s contributions to the match and which players were standouts.
You could see tonight how we used the fullbacks. We used the fullbacks more on the switch of play. We switched the play very well. And for James to arrive in the 18 the way he did [on the first goal] really typified the mood we were in tonight. I thought that we arrived at Cincinnati’s goal on a number of occasions from wide and central areas. Really I don’t think Dominik [Jakubek] or Evan [Newton] have a shot saved.
Disappointed when we get corners, you have to be professional and you run the clock down. We’ve seen teams do that for us here and we were weak, we were poor, we were weak in that corner. When you get into the details of the game, if that’s a league game and they take it off us... there are some things that we have to brush up on. I’m sounding like I’m moaning, but it’s just the level that I expect from the team.
On Chelsea FC player Alex Davey, who was with the team on Saturday.
Well I hope we hide his return ticket, to be honest. I know his parents very well, actually. And Alex is somebody that I’ve followed for a few years. It’s very difficult to make the grade at a place like Chelsea, he’s been there 12 years and been out on loan in the English Leagues. And he’s available. So I gave him the invite to come out and play some football and train in a different environment — to help him, basically — knowing that if he enjoyed it there might be a chance.
The fact that we’ve lost some of our center backs — it’s been a tough couple days losing Carlos with a broken ankle, Chris Christian still trying out in Portugal so we’re still waiting. We chose to leave Mike out tonight for reasons I can’t really share tonight — positive reasons. It’s a problem for us because last year our stability at the back was superb. I was please with Julius James. I thought Hall did well when he went to the back. And Alex Davey — I think tonight showed what a class act he was. I thought his range of passing and his decision making was fantastic and just what we need in Sacramento.
On whether the many attacking players at his disposal gives him more flexibility in making decisions this year than he had last year.
Yes it does. I think that Chaney was a bit unlucky tonight, he didn’t get on. I spoke to all five strikers and I just said to Trevin and Sam, “don’t leave anything in the tank. Just go all out. Go all after their defenders, with and without the ball. Wear them down knowing that we’ve got Williams and Kneeshaw and Trickett-Smith.” And I said the same thing to Blackwood.
So that’s a big advantage, that we can be so much more agressive, knowing that it’s a squad game — and it is a squad game. Because you didn’t see much different when we made three or four changes, and I think that showed me that we are going to be able to take it to teams even more. Especially here. I thought that gave us a tempo that we need. That’s something I want to improve at home when teams come and sit in against us — to try and up the tempo. And I think that’s something that starts up front with those attacking players.
On if he expects to bring in a couple more center backs.
Yes. Absolutely. We have to. It’s such an important position. And to sort of lose three — not three yet — this far in to the preseason is tough. But I was pleased with what I saw here. At the moment, we probably only have one in Julius. Alex is not over the line, we have to speak to Alex. It’s a huge change for a guy that spent his entire career at a Premier League club. It’s something now where there’s not much time for me to rest. I’ve really got to kick on with the recruitment, which I thought was over to an extent. But that’s the job.
I was pleased with our fans tonight. I thought our fans really enjoyed watching us. It’s not often you hear that Sac Republic supporters sort of moan and groan. Even they showed me that I was right with the officials. They’ve got to warm-up as well. Preseason’s about warming up, but come on.
On whether he and the club identified any diamonds (such as Max Alvarez) in the rough through open tryouts.
There were some sparks today, in the tryouts this morning. It’s been a long day. We were there this morning at 7. Graham does a great job of setting that up for our club. There was, but the level just higher now. When you look at Alex Davey, that’s where I want to take it now. I want to keep taking it up another level. It’s not easy to do.
In tonight’s performance I felt we showed a lot of spirit. With so many new faces coming in and the close season, I will sort of — I’m never nervous when I come to Bonney. I’m always in a confident mood. But tonight I was a bit nervous because normally we’re very solid and we can work from that... But we held up very well.
What do you think about Buckle’s comments about the game? Let us know what you thought about Saturday’s draw, or Buckle’s reaction to it, down in the comments below!