“In the first we made some really basic mistakes that led to goals. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing against, if we have a corner and it gets headed out and their one up front is able to collect the ball, turn and then run ten yards forward there is something seriously wrong. And that’s nothing to do with who collected it — it’s down to a basic error of not being switched on to a defensive mind.
Brave reserves outgunned
“In the first half there was a half-hearted attempt to close them down and upset their rhythm and they were a little bit of being in awe of them — which I can understand. “But, at some stage, these boys want to play with 30,000 people watching them and the earlier they step forward the more often they’ll do it.
“There are 18-19-years-olds playing in the Premiership somewhere at the minute and are these boys going to be that age and playing in the Premier League? There’s obviously a grounding that you get by playing against that type of opposition.
“In the first half they didn’t reach standards that they are capable of really, the second half was slightly better I felt in the way they hassled them and tried to close down.
“I know Arsenal maybe came down a gear — but you’re playing against the shirts not their reputation. I think for 20-30 minutes in the first half we played against their reputations and in the end when they were three-nothing down in that period you felt it was because of who we were playing.
Ron's jump in class
“You’re in almost a no-lose situation, but I felt the way they played first half they were quite happy to be in that situation. It was never going to be a kicking match, but I felt we could have been more aggressive and got roundabout them a bit more. When I look back I think the second half was a pretty decent performance by us.”
Colin admitted that the Arsenal teamsheet came as something of a surprise to him and he elected to tell the boys that their were no ‘big names’ in the line-up.
“Chris Hughton handed it in and I thought they were probably winding me up a wee bit.
“I didn’t tell them, but obviously there was one or two young boys we met here and I could see them reading the teamsheet and were itching to get over and tell their mates who they were playing against.
“I later told them Kanu has only got four letters and is not a big name.”
“It was quite interesting before the match to hear what they were saying and imagine what they were thinking. It must have given them a massive lift to come up against Bergkamp, Kanu and Parlour.
“If you don’t want to put themselves in that situation, where you come up against players who can really hurt you, you might as well pack your bags now and finish.
“They did alright, but I don’t think you should be eager to hide behind the fact that you’ve played a very good team. They could have got thumped, and I was keeping my fingers crossed in the second half that it didn’t end up five or six.”
Colin Calderwood refused to accept the quality of opposition as a valid reason for his side’s defeat to Arsenal, pointing out that errors are avoidable whatever the circumstances.