We needed to be big and strong today

Last updated : 04 January 2005 By Tony Scholes

You got the impression that none of them agreed with him, the home players were being booed long before the final whistle, they had even forgotten about Steve Cotterill by then, and the attacks on the local radio phone in were very entertaining for the Burnley fans listening on the way home.

Pulis did show some sympathy for the moaning Delilahs though and said, “I feel sorry for the crowd. Supporters have been given so much optimism with the way we have started this season and we haven’t been able to fulfil that optimism. The players are at a big club and if they don’t perform there is going to be moaning and groaning.”

Pulis, amazingly, thought his side had done well enough and thought the result was unfair (this is a common occurrence for this particular manager from the dark ages).

“I didn’t think Burnley were brilliant and that says a lot in respect of our quality but I’m not going to criticise our players because they gave it their best shot.

“In the first half we had the chances to get a foothold but didn’t take them and that’s the way it has been going for a while now. Clive Clarke had a second half opportunity that should have been a goal and then we would have been in the ascendancy.

“It was a real suckerpunch to lose it right at the end from a set piece. We’ve had some good chances again but just didn’t cash in and it has cost us. We are in the middle of a bad run but we’ve just got to get on with it and take it on the chin.

“They weren’t better than us, but again we lacked the quality in the final third.”

Steve Cotterill couldn’t have wished for anything better after the welcome he received from the home fans who still can’t quite get his name right.

“I thought it was a good game of football,” he said afterwards. “We were very good in the first half and the better side by far. We were second best for a while in the second half but we finished strongly. To be fair they have had four games and we haven’t so that may have helped.”

“Brian Jensen only had one save to make in the first half which he did well to save and overall we are just pleased with the performance and the three points. It is a difficult place to come to, we knew that, and we needed to be big and strong today.”

He explained that it was touch and go whether match winner Gary Cahill would play or not and said, “We weren’t sure until this morning whether he would play because he’s been poorly, but he did well. Ade Akinbiyi is a real handful and he looked comfortable and I thought John McGreal was absolutely outstanding with him.”

There was time for him to comment on the reception and he admitted, “I don’t blame them. I’m a lot older and wiser now but it wasn’t fully down to me what happened here. There were a lot of other factors and people involved in it and I’ve kept a dignified silence over that which I will continue to do.”