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Gareth: I'm really proud of the effort

The Chairboys manager was pleased by the team performance against Lincoln.

21 August 2021

Following the 1-0 victory at home to Lincoln City, Gareth Ainsworth spoke highly of his team’s performance against a strong side.

“It’s a solid start to the league and I’m really pleased and proud of the boys today. We put a tactical plan in place and it was quite plain to see at times; the energy levels I wanted from the boys, the pressing, and without giving too much away, the way that we wanted to press them. For ten minutes, we absolutely dominated and then they came back into it - Lincoln City are a good side with a good manager who play some really good possession football. 

“We knew that and we knew that we’d have to step on that to try and impose our game style a little bit - and we did that in the first eight minutes and going 1-0 up was the dream. It was a fantastic ball from Jordan, but Garath McCleary made a fantastic run to open the space up, and that’s what Sam Vokes was brought in to do. I told him when he signed that he’d get crosses in the right areas, and I’m glad that’s paying off because he’s a top striker - we’ve got a lot of top strikers here.”

It was a tight scoreline, and despite a few potentially questionable decisions, or lack of, the Chairboys kept a clean sheet, with Stockdale continuing to impress.

“Believe me, it was tough. I believe we had a great shout for a penalty at one stage, and the referees were letting a lot go. It’s a tough job in the middle, and he was playing advantage and both sets of fans are baying for blood. It was a hard fought 1-0 victory and Lincoln had their chances - David Stockdale had to make an unbelievable save and was in the right place at the right time - that’s what he’s paid for! He’s at his best at the moment.

“I’m really proud of the effort and the energy of the boys and they’ll have to recover from that one - we’ve worked on it really hard all week. I thought that we could have maybe added one or two goals, but there was some great last ditch defending, with blocks and tackles and then hitting the post, so there were chances to put it to bed but a 1-0 is as good as anything.”

Ainsworth has players to come back into his side to create yet more competition, and the players that currently make up the starting XI and bench know that different styles will suit some players better than others on different occasions.

“We’ve got Tafazolli, Gape, Wheeler and McCarthy all injured at the moment, and on the bench, what I’ve got is great - I said to Bayo that today we’re playing a certain style and because of that, you might not get on and he said, ‘Gaffer, as long as we win, that’s all I care about.’ He’s behind that, and almost coaching the boys to do the same - we’ve got really great pieces in this jigsaw. There’ll be upsets, of course, and we’ll get knockbacks, but it’s how we react to those.

“I just want to credit the fans today and the Couhigs for letting me get the depth of the squad that I’ve got because we need it - Nick Freeman has picked up an injury today after a nasty tackle. Defence seems to be cursed at the moment but we’re getting some players back from the treatment room and I’m really proud of that.”

It’s now full steam ahead ready for the second round of the Carabao Cup against Stevenage.

“That was a fantastic win against a good Lincoln City side. Michael is a great manager and he’ll have them right up there, believe me. Today, I’m pleased that what we worked on paid off - it’s a fantastic result and now we’re back to the drawing board to try and beat Stevenage on Tuesday.”

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