Gunn: We fell short when it counted
David Cuffley City boss Bryan Gunn lamented his side's poor second-half showing as they were left hovering over the trapdoor to League One by a home defeat at the hands of Reading. The Canaries competed well with the promotion-chasing Royals in the opening half at Carrow Road, but lacked any edge after the break and were sunk by two Shane Long headers.
City boss Bryan Gunn lamented his side's poor second-half showing as they were left hovering over the trapdoor to League One by a home defeat at the hands of Reading.
The Canaries competed well with the promotion-chasing Royals in the opening half at Carrow Road, but lacked any edge after the break and were sunk by two Shane Long headers.
“It was disappointing in the second half. I think in the first half the boys were really up for the game,” said Gunn.
“We made some opportunities to get in behind them. Cody McDonald put in an excellent performance in the first half and was taken down on the edge of the box.
“In the first half we certainly set our stall out. In the second half we let them come into the game. They're a dangerous side. We knew they were going to get the ball out wide and get crosses into the box and that's what killed us off in the end - two excellent crosses, two good finishes.
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“But we didn't create too many openings, which was disappointing.”
Gunn refused to accept relegation as inevitable, but to stay up City must win at Charlton on Sunday and Barnsley must lose at Plymouth.
“We were just saying in the dressing room, all is not lost. We have to go down to Charlton and believe we can get a result there and we hope Plymouth will do a job in front of their own fans and win that game against Barnsley,” said Gunn.
“As the captain, Gary Doherty, said in the dressing room, funny things happen in football. We have got to really believe that if we get our job right at Charlton, a miracle will happen.
“It's a big ask, but as the captain said, funny things happen and we have to believe that and that's what we have to focus on for the next four or five days in the build-up to the game.
“We have to face up to each other, we have got to face up to the rest of the staff at the training ground and as long as my captain gets it across to the rest of the team that there is still a chance, that's what we have got to believe, that's what we have to focus on.
“We have to lift the players, get them fresh, fit and focused on what will be a difficult day.”
Gunn defended his decision not to use striker Jamie Cureton against his former club, Reading, after naming him as a substitute for the first time in 10 matches. Instead 19-year-old Luke Daley was introduced in the closing stages.
“I thought Cody had done well and big Alan Lee was battling away. Without him on there would have been a lack of height,” said Gunn. “I don't think there were too many opportunities to get Jamie on - I'm disappointed for Jamie against his old team, not using him, but at the same time we felt Luke Daley out wide would be a better option for us. We just didn't get the ball out wide and into the box and cause them any problems.”
Gunn admitted the players' post-match lap of the pitch had been difficult after the result.
He said: “The players are disappointed but we just had to do a lap of honour and there were thousands who stayed behind.
“That was fantastic. Our fans are right behind us. We've got 3,000 people coming down to Charlton with us and we hope we can do a job down there. Lady Luck will have to be on our side but we've got to believe that we can go down there and do a job.
“It was very difficult, but out of respect to the supporters and out of respect to the football club that's what we had to do - myself as manager, the rest of the staff and the players.
“No matter what the result tonight we were going to be doing it - obviously after the result it made it more difficult, but at the same time it is a famous football club and the supporters will support it through thick and thin and certainly there were thousands who stayed behind, which I'm grateful for.”