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Morris: "Ragged First Half, Excellent In The Second"

23 July 2022

Crewe Alexandra manager, Alex Morris, believed his side responded well to raise their performance to another level in the second half against Rotherham after conceding two poor goals from a defensive perspective.

Morris was far than pleased with the two goals we did concede, one before the first minute had elapsed and the second just before half time – but he was more pleased with the reaction in the second 45 minutes.

Crewe trailed 2-1 at the interval and were a bit fortunate to be only the one goal in deficit thanks to Dan Agyei’s poacher-like finish from Oli Finney’s centre. Judging by the display in the second period of an entertaining contest, Morris’ men were then rather unfortunate not to have at least drawn the game at the Mornflake Stadium.

Crewe got on the front foot and only a fantastic double save prevented Sambou and then latest loan signing Brook from drawing us level at a crucial stage in the second half. Crewe were more than good value and the second half performance against Championship opposition is sure to bring some optimism ahead of the big season kick-off next weekend.

Talking after the 2-1 defeat to the Millers, an honest assessment from Morris revealed: “It was a game of two halves. The defending for the two goals when we know what Rotherham are all about, loading the box, loading the final third  and then having to deal with the second phases and first phases to earn the right to get the ball back, we didn’t do that one minute in and we didn’t do it five minutes before half time.

“So they were really two poor goals to concede from areas of the pitch and patterns of play that we knew were going to come in the game and at really poor times in the game. There is never a good time but to concede at the start of the half and the end of the half tops it off.

“I was not happy to say the least with them at half time because they just didn’t settle into the game, didn’t show any quality on the ball and just looked like they were surviving. There was no need to be like that, deal with the second phase balls, win the ball back and then get the ball to our front four and then repeat. That’s all it is. The game was very simple in that respect.

“Second half onwards and all the things we asked of them they did. We were excellent, well in control of the game and lots of possession and got entries into their box without being clinical enough to score that second goal on the day. We created enough chances, lots of play in and around their box, lots of crosses going into the box and flashing across their goal. They did a lot of good things in that regard. 

He added: “There was a lot of quality, especially from the left side and other than a superb save from their goalkeeper then the scoreline could have been different and merited. They took themselves from 5s and 6s out of 10 to 7s and 8s and they showed the capability to lift their performance which is pleasing.”

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