It was a fantastic result, but we can play so much better, says Bristol Rovers boss
BRISTOL Rovers boss Mark McGhee watched his side end a recent run of four straight defeats and then told his players: "We still need to do a lot better."
Second-half goals from strikers Joe Anyinsah and Tom Eaves added to an early own goal off the boot of midfielder Sam Togwell saw Rovers secure a 3-2 victory over Chesterfield at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
The manager said his overriding emotion was one of relief at the final whistle after seeing his side claim their first victory since October 20, and said: "It was a fantastic result and I'm delighted for the lads and for the supporters, but I still want to see us play a lot better than that.
"We've got to give the lads credit for the way they kept going, but I have to look at the performance a lot deeper. I feel they can do so much better, play so much better.
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"It was a frustrating performance for me, particularly in the first half, but they showed good character and a togetherness, which is something I had questioned after we lost to Southend on Tuesday night. They've rallied really well and the important thing for me to do now is to take something away from the game from which we can build on.
Eaves bounced back from the criticism he received from McGhee following his performance in the 3-2 defeat at the hands of Southend by providing assists for Rovers' opening two goals before striking an 80th-minute winner from the edge of the penalty area.
"Tom is a lad with great character and we're absolutely thrilled to have him here," said McGhee.
"The easy thing for me to have done would have been to have left Tom out after Tuesday night, but if you play him to his strengths like we did today, he can be a real handful."
McGhee also had words of praise for Anyinsah, who scored his first goal in almost a year when drafted back into the team as a surprise inclusion after being dropped from the squad altogether for the previous two games.
"I knew I had to shake things up after the last few defeats and I told Joe that he could potentially be a part of that, which is why he was not in the last couple of squads," said McGhee.
"I might have made a mistake in that I did not consider Joe solely to play a role where his main job is to hold the ball up, rather than always focusing on his lack of goals.
"He hasn't scored enough goals for us, but when I looked around the squad for somebody who could hold the ball up for us, Joe was the one that stood out. I'm pleased Joe got a goal. There is nobody happier for him than me, even if I am his biggest critic."
Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was at fault for Chesterfield's first equaliser in the 21st minute when landing behind the goal-line with the ball still in his hands after leaping to claim Mark Randall's routine high ball into the penalty area. The on-loan Fulham stopper, however, then produced a string of fabulous saves to allow Rovers the platform to go on and win the game.
"Their first goal was a bit of a freak occurrence because of Neil's error, but we have to forgive him," said McGhee. "He made some fantastic saves at crucial times after that, which helped us to go on and eventually win the game."