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APPLETON: We were much more competitive in the second half

4 January 2020

Michael Appleton was pleased with his sides reaction in the second half following a disappointing opening 45 minutes in Lincoln's 3-1 defeat to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

The Imps manager explained how basic errors had let his side down in the opening 45 minutes as 3,236 Lincoln supporters made the trip up North.

“You can’t legislate for that. There have been basic errors which have cost us the game,” said Appleton.

“If you come to a place like this where they’re on the front foot and have 30,000 fans behind them, it will be very dangerous, and we needed to be aggressive if we wanted something.

“Poor execution and poor decision making has punished us today, so I want the lads to learn from their mistakes. I didn't speak to the lads about the long ball for their goal because I was too angry, I think they felt that there was enough speed on the ball for it to go straight to Josh. So, for them to leave it and not deal with it, I was very disappointed.”

Michael continued by speaking about his side’s reaction in the second half, saying how they played better to get themselves a goal.

“In the second half we were the better side, but it didn’t mean anything because the game was done.

“I told the players to go out and win the second half and they’ve done that. We didn’t start the game poorly we just made a few horrendous errors which I don’t expect from the experienced heads out there.

“They were in a shock at half time, so they needed me but at the end of the game I told them the truth and hopefully that is now the end of it.”

“We got the goal and our tails were up, but then we had to score a second goal quickly, especially in this type of game but we didn’t.

“We were much more competitive, we started to pass the ball and made more of a game of it in the second half. I will keep going back to the reality that the damage was done in the first half.”

Appleton went on to speak about new arrival Zach Elbouzedi who made his debut for the Imps today, coming on as a late substitute: “It was great to see him get out there today and the more minutes he gets, the better it will be for everyone.

“We will try and get more minutes over the next few weeks and work him into the squad.

“We saw a glimpse of the pace that he has in his locker today, so the fans will see what he can do in the next few weeks as he settles in.”

The Imps manager finished by apologising to supporters for the side’s first-half performance saying: “I can only apologise that we didn’t give them enough to shout about today. I came into the game full of confidence, but the first half has killed us.

“We gave them something to shout about in the second half, and we had a right go. They stuck with us and were loud, so I am disappointed not to have given them anything.

“We haven’t given them the results on the road, but I want them to keep following us in the numbers they do.”


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