Doncaster Rovers boss avoids Morecambe mention in bid to improve game management

It was something he needed to remind his players of but was desperate not to.

Monday, 7th February 2022, 4:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 11:18 am
Gary McSheffrey with assistant manager Frank Sinclair
Gary McSheffrey with assistant manager Frank Sinclair

As Doncaster Rovers sat 2-0 up at half time at Sunderland at the weekend, Gary McSheffrey was keen to stress the importance of seeing the win out in the right manner.

Having witnessed his side capitulate from a 3-0 advantage to lose 4-3 at Morecambe, the Rovers boss wanted to warn his players of the traps they had previously fallen into. But he did not want to put the idea, and fear, of collapse in their heads.

“I said to the players we’ve been in this position before and I don’t want to remind you of that, but we crumbled last time and let’s not do that again,” he said.

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“But to a man, we worked our socks off and we’ve got boys in there who aren’t match fit who have played 90 minutes, 75 minutes for us and worked their socks off.

“We’d have liked to have created a bit more in the second half but it was about digging in. When you get yourself into a lead you’ve got something to protect and hold onto, and that was the case.”

Being better at game management is something McSheffrey has sought for his players since taking charge of the side in December.

Rovers did a superb job of that at Sunderland to hold on for a 2-1 triumph, just as they had done in the 1-0 win at MK Dons in the previous home game.

And McSheffrey believes further improvement will come now his players are confident they can stand up to pressure and protect a lead.

“It was a big one on Saturday because the lads have seen they can see a game out, they can defend deep and protect the game well and get through it,” he said.

“When you go ahead in quite a few games and you don’t win, you end up losing, that’s when you start to ask questions of yourselves as players. Can we see it through?

“It was a big one on Saturday that they saw it through from 2-0 up at half time.

“The top teams in this league, they have got shrewd players with good game management and help the clock tick down with the simplest of things.

“I thought we did that well on Saturday without wasting time being blatant.

“We managed it a lot better.”

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