We should have really had the game sewn up by half-time which could be an echo of so many occasions this season. But that reflects part of the jigsaw that we still have to address and complete because we are continually creating so many chances but need to add a clinical element to our finishing.
We should have had an easier passage in some games yet finished up on a knife edge when we could have been more comfortable. That’s been the story of our season and that’s something for us to improve and something that we have been working on.
One problem is that we are finding our home surface difficult to play our passing game on and the same can be said for a lot of grounds around the country. I don’t know why this should appear to be worse this season but a lot of pitches have had to be re-laid and we are already planning a brand new surface for next year which will be a positive for us. We certainly need it if we are to play the attractive football that we all want to see. So, all in all, beating Sunderland was a great lift and came at the right time.
On a personal note, it had been a very difficult week for me with the passing away of my father and I would like to thank everybody at the Club for the magnificent gesture of the one minute’s silence. I have written to Sunderland in praise of the respect shown by their followers and I would like to thank our own supporters for their equally magnificent response.
I know that my Dad would have been very proud of that moment of respect, our performance and the result. My family were all at the game and were very touched.
Now we turn our attentions to Chelsea. This, of course, is our third cup match against them this season. We’ve won one apiece and they beat us in the league so there is no reason to doubt that this is going to be a very tight game. I can’t see there being much in it and undoubtedly we’ve got to perform well right from the kick-off.
We’ve done exactly that in our last three meetings this season and have only managed to beat them once. So we know this will be a tough game but we’ve got to make the most of our home advantage if we can, we did so in the Worthington Cup and now we’ve got to make sure that we do it in the FA Cup. A similar atmosphere would again help our team respond.
As for some of the things since said by Ken Bates about gloating, that is not something that this club is about. I would say that his comments were more a case of somebody finding it difficult to accept defeat.
Play your part today and help lift the team into another semi-final.
After the Worthington Cup disappointment Sunderland’s visit represented a very big game for us and we were delighted to get the points on offer. I felt that we played very well in what was a good team performance and our persistence paid off in the end.