Date:Monday April 23 2007
While his side came away from the game without recording a point in their fight for survival, Ward was upbeat following the performance after his side gave 'Pool as good as they got.
'I want results but I also want my team to play football like that as well. We came up against a team that plays in a similar way and the quality of play from both teams was excellent. When you consider the situations with both teams, they are desperate to get a minimum of the play-offs and we are desperate to get out of the bottom, there was a real calmness and brightness about both teams today. It's a shame that anybody's lost it and I'm really upset that it's us that have lost it.'
Ward was quick to praise not only his own side, but also a Blackpool side who gave his side a really good game and put on a spectacle for the supporters on a typical sunny afternoon.
'There were two really good teams out there and it was a great credit to the players that they were able to put that on for supporters. Had it resulted in a 1-1 or 2-2 draw people would have thought that was about right. We're disappointed we didn't capitalise on the first 25 minutes of the second period when Joe Hart, their goalkeeper, has made some terrific saves and kept us at bay when we've really upped the ante. We got our penalty, which was a penalty, then we had to try and take it away from Blackpool. We didn't and credit to them and their goalkeeper. We wish them well. We want to get the same type of performance next week. I'm pushing the players to maintain that level, which is not easy, but that's what we'll try and do next Saturday.'
Once again, stand-in Man City 'keeper Joe Hart grabbed the plaudits in the game with some magnificent saves - which showed everyone why City fans are raving about the youngster citing him as England's number one in years to come.
'We hit the target enough times and things dropped a little bit favourably for Blackpool at times but we forced their goalkeeper to make some terrific saves and that added to the excitement. Had we gone two or three up at the start of the second half then Blackpool couldn't have grumbled about it but we didn't do that. You've got to give credit to your opponents as well and they held out well and came back strongly at us at the end of the game. They got the break and the goal when they were on top whereas we couldn't quite do that."
John Ward was also quick to state that the goal from Keith Southern was down to a lack of pressure from his defence but, despite his side being one of the teams that could still be relegated to League Two next season, remained upbeat that his side still have a point's advantage over the other stragglers in the league.
'We didn't press their midfielder tight enough for the deciding goal. He approached the ball carefully as it was a difficult one to hit but his technique has paid off. He got the accuracy right and I think Scott saw it very late. That's life but we are still four points better off than Bradford City and when the players and supporters see that they'll take some comfort from it. We now have to try and get the job done at Rotherham. The Cheltenham Town way is probably not the easy one, we don't seem to do that here, but we'll dig in and maybe it will go to the last game against Brighton. Who knows?"
Finally, the gaffer stood by his side and reaffirmed his belief that they will bounce back from the defeat, stand up, brush themselves off and maintain their recent performance levels in a bid to avoid League Two - even if it does go down to the final day of the season.
'I back my players and I've seen nothing today to suggest that is a wrong decision. The players will be fine, they'll recover well once they get the disappointment of this result out of the way. This sort of performance, which we have been repeating quite regularly, will stand us in good stead up at Rotherham next week. Hopefully we can get the result we need next week and if not, it will go to the game against Brighton. Either way, the attitude of the players will be right and they'll give it a real good go. The supporters were terrific today right from the off and we have stuck together well today. We have to do that now for just two more games."
Date:Monday April 23 2007
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