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INTERVIEW: Mark Robins Reflects On Arsenal Defeat

City fall to a 3-0 defeat at the Ricoh Arena...

12 September 2018

Mark Robins was left disappointed with aspects of his team’s performance, as the Sky Blues went down 3-0 to Arsenal U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Despite making 11 changes, the manager wouldn’t have expected to find his team facing such an uphill task, as the visitors opened the scoring inside five minutes.

“I think we created our own problems. Our shape wasn’t right and the recovery wasn’t there. They run off the back of us and score a goal that was probably avoidable on three or four of the occasions before it got to the final shot.”

However, despite Emile Smith-Rowe’s early goal, City then pressured for the remainder of the opening 45 minutes, and left the pitch at half-time having been the more dominant side. However, Robins bemoaned the lack of clinical finishing when his team found themselves in promising positions.

“Arsenal move the ball well, different type of football than we’re used to coming up against week in and week out, – sharp – but I think we got to grips with it, got on top. Most of the first half was ours after that but lacked that cutting edge, that incisive edge, and desire to get on the end of something.”

The lack of conviction in front of goal has been a common complaint of the manager so far this season, but he did admit that Arsenal were forced to nullify City’s attacking threat in the second-half, adding to his frustration.

“I’m disappointed with that because that’s something you expect to happen, to have the desire to get on the end of something in the penalty area, but we got into good areas and we had good delivery on the left-hand side by Chris Camwell.

“It was rounded off with Jordy Hiwula in the dying seconds hitting one wide of the post. We had a number of good opportunities, but we haven’t been decisive enough and they’ve brought on a defender at half time to try and nullify Chris Camwell and it worked.”

With City determined to get back on level terms, the Sky Blues pushed men forward in the second-half, in search of the equaliser, but were ultimately made to pay, conceding two more goals without reply.

“Once I made the changes I had to make we then became vulnerable and they’ve scored the two goals. It’s a game where we looked at players who are on the cusp of the team and should cope with it better than what we did.”

Despite the score line, there were some positive performances, with several players making their first appearances of the season, but Robins will be hoping his side can bounce back quickly, as they prepare for Barnsley’s visit to the Ricoh on Saturday.

“I thought the younger players did well they played with energy, they just made one or two mistakes but the more senior players have to be there to help them through and guide them over the line. It was a disappointing result and now we look towards Saturday and put this behind us as quick as we can.”

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