Post-Match Reaction: Leonid Slutsky

30 September 2017
Leonid Slutsky was a happy man as he spoke to the media after Saturday's 6-1 victory over Birmingham City.

Here’s what he had to say:

On whether switching to a 4-2-3-1 system made the difference
“I think we have been close to this quality of match in many matches. Sometimes we have played well for 30 minutes, sometimes for one half but all week we have spoken about how we must stabilise the quality of our game – not 30 minutes, not one half but all 90 minutes. Unfortunately, we didn’t do added time when they scored and that is my mistake! We played at a high level and the result came with that.

“Today our plan worked. It is difficult to speak about individuals and systems. After watching Birmingham play Sheffield Wednesday in midweek we understood how we must play. We had some different combinations today and it worked well. It was a really good performance and I think the supporters will be happy. We thank them for their support.”

On the most pleasing aspects of the performance
“We pressed very well, very high up the field. The first goal came as a result of that, we understood that from our preparation. We used the spaces between their lines, there were big spaces and we used them well. Jon Toral was very important in those situations and was very productive for us. Our defence was also good because we knew we had to stop Jacques Maghoma and Jeremie Boga from dribbling as that is what they like to do and they are good at it.”

On Markus Henriksen coming on and maybe playing in his ‘natural’ position for the first time
“In pre-season he only really played as a number ten, but when we lost Kevin Stewart and David Meyler earlier in the season he was the only one who could play in that number six role. He got injured and has come back with some new players in the team. We have serious competition in that area of the team but Henriksen, Toral and Irvine can all play as a number six, a number eight and a number ten. They are versatile and we will use them as best we can.”

On whether Seb Larsson had his best game in a black and amber shirt so far
“I think so, yes. Opinions are very important, but when it comes to players my opinion is the most important and I understood his level when I signed him. He is a very good player.”

On the disappointment of conceding a goal in added time
“It was annoying but it shows that we have to continue to work very hard.”

On whether the performance can kick-start the season
“We’ve had a difficult time but in each match we have had a chance to win. It has felt like luck hasn’t liked us – I don’t know why! If we can keep the level of performance we have shown in this match, I think we will have more wins.”

On whether the international break now comes at a bad time
“It’s always a nervous time for us because we have a lot of internationals playing in important matches. I’ve said ‘please come back without injuries!’ It’s difficult because we can’t train with a full team, but we will manage the situation.”

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