On his reasons for changing up the team’s formation.
Well we decided to go with three center backs because of height, because we knew [Phoenix Rising] would cause us a problem from set plays and crosses because they’ve got some height. They’re a big team when [Peter] Ramage comes up. I got bit that right. The bit I got wrong was the personnel.
Because we didn’t pick up two corners. For all the playing the game, there’s two set plays that cost us. You can’t afford to concede two corners but we did. And the other one was a regain; we had good possession and we’d just got into the game 2-1. On the turnover, [Jeremy] Hall got his pocket picked in the middle and we never touched the ball again. They were back in control of the game.
In the two plus years I’ve been here we’ve been pretty water tight on set plays — it’s a big part of the game. But tonight we weren’t and we paid the price. So we have to accept the defeat.
It wasn’t a lack of trying from the players. I think we kept going. I thought they defended very well... defended the box well. If we could have stayed in the game at 2-1 it might have been a different story, but to gift them back a second goal was unlike us. We haven’t done that, I can’t remember the last time we conceded three goals. It’s a case now of we’re in fifth place, everything’s in our hands in terms of the playoffs. We have to take the defeat, we have to look at where we went wrong and look to put it right on the training field and then in turn in our next game.
On the role of Tyler Blackwood against Phoenix
Well Tyler’s role tonight was to play in the space. He’s somebody that needs space to run at teams. He scored a great goal for us the other weekend to get us a draw. He’s got six goals now for us. He’s actually, in terms of affecting the games, done what I wanted. The problem for us tonight was conceding. It wasn’t about the other way.
Even when we put [Matt] Wiesenfarth on and Trevin [Caesar] come on and scored a good goal. We could’ve scored more goals. It wasn’t about attacking tonight, it was about keeping a clean sheet. And like I say, it was a free header for the first goal and that puts you on the back foot.
What he sees as a cause of Republic’s rough three game stretch
I think I said when we changed formation a few months back we’ve been on a great run. If you look at our run — we only got beat at home in the first time since April, I think — and you look at the form guide, we’ve been ok. We’ve scored lots of goals. We haven’t found it difficult to score. We have three clean sheets in a row. And then all of a sudden this is what the game does; this is football. You switch off on corners and you get punished. That’s the game at the professional level.
I’m sure when I look back at the DVD, there will be things that I’m pleased with and not please with, but the main factors were the two set plays. Make no mistake about it: you can’t afford to give any team those types of goals and expect to get anything out of the game. We’ve seen lots of good stuff from us over the past months. Lots of good stuff. We just need to do the basics. Set plays are basics, you have to stay with your man, be disciplined. We just weren’t disciplined enough in those situations.