Yeovil manager Darren Way spoke to the media following his side’s 2-1 victory over Swindon at Huish Park. Here is what he had to say:
Pre-season is over and it ends with victory over League One opposition, what did you make of it?
DW: “I thought they [Swindon] were a difficult team to play against. I watched them play against Swansea, who are a possession-based side, and I think they had more possession than Swansea in that game. I knew what we were going to come up against.
“I’ve put a pre-season in place that’s tested the players psychologically and physically. They had to think today against Swindon, their goalkeeper takes more touches than some of the outfield players. We had to win the ball back and then on the counter-attack, we had five or six good clear cut chances.
There’s risk and reward to it as we had large spells without the ball but I don’t think they really hurt us.
“We got into the final third 28, 29 times in the first half. I know the players have really got hunger and drive to win football matches. Today was exactly what I was looking for.”
We saw Tom Eaves on the break quite a few times, he set up Otis Khan’s goal and also got on the scoresheet himself, how important is he going to be this season?
DW: “He looks powerful, hungry and confident. It’s never easy as you’ve always got someone who makes a perception of Tom [Eaves] because of his previous loan spell. I had to say to him before he came in that it’s something he’ll have to deal with. Any supporter now makes a judgement before you’ve
even played. What I’ve noticed is he’s handled that and he’s shown the supporters, and my team members, that he can play.”
You’ve said that you want to make less changes this season, have a more settled side – would it be a fair assessment to say that the eleven out there today will be your strongest team for the season?
DW: “I think that’s for you to decide. All I can do is put a team out and a pattern I’m looking for to win football matches. I’ve been at games last year and not seen that athleticism or drive or energy. I want to take the view of a supporter and see players get up and down the pitch, that look like they’re
fighting for the club and that’s what we’ve got.”
You had trialists on the bench today but you made no subs, what was the thinking behind that?
DW: “I think psychologically it’s very important the players have done 90 minutes now going into the game next week. I would be very confident if I was a player now coming off that pitch. Confidence breeds success and that’s what I’m trying to get at this football club.”
You made the permanent signing of Alex Lawless on Friday, how important is that for you?
DW: “He’s [Alex Lawless] a fantastic player. You could see today that he steadies the ship. The problem I may have this year is how younger players deal with adversity. If you’re in a situation where you go 1-0 down, he’s got enough experience to get the group together, get them organised in the right way
and start making sure that mistakes don’t happen. Every club up and down the country makes mistakes but I think he’ll knit the team together.”
What’s the update on Darren Ward and Francois Zoko?
DW: “All I can say is that they’re working extremely hard but the group of players that you see out there are giving absolutely everything for this football club. That’s one thing you can’t buy.”
To end on a positive, how are you looking forward to Notts County next week?
DW: “For my first pre-season as manager, I’m really pleased with the way its gone. I’ve been pleased with the way the group has bonded together because that’s what pre-season’s about. We only lost one or two players which is a bonus as the old players know what we did last year. To finish against League
One opposition today and win the football match sets positive vibes and high standards. We only lost the Bristol City game and even in that game it was close.
“Build belief, keep believing and you never know what might happen this year.”