Boss makes a case for the defence

CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant has points in the bag and a big fat nought in the “games lost” column - now all he wants is to see a few more clean sheets and a 90-minute performance.

CHRIS LAKEY

Peter Grant has points in the bag and a big fat nought in the “games lost” column - now all he wants is to see a few more clean sheets and a 90-minute performance.

City held firm against Preston on the opening day of the season, but the wind was taken out of Grant's sails when they conceded two against Barnet in the Carling Cup first round victory, and then another at home to Southampton last weekend.

A sloppy second half against Barnet continued in the opening period against Saints - and Grant wants it out of City's system.

“We are always looking to improve, we always feel there is a big, big improvement to be made in certain aspects of our game,” he said.

“If you pick up points when you are not playing particularly well you are happy with that. You are always looking for the perfect performance - and that is playing exceptionally well and winning.

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“I want to win and keep a clean sheet. We have not done that at home since the season started - we lost two goals against Barnet, so we have to get back to having a clean sheet again because at Preston that was one thing that I thought we had done alright - we have kept a clean sheet away from home at a difficult place, then we have lost three goals at home. That is not just defensively, that is right from the front.

“We have got to use the ball better, we didn't do that (against Southampton), we changed it too often in the first half, second half we played in the opposition's half much more. The more often you play in the opposition half and get after the opposition in their half you create chances further up the pitch and win games of football. That is what we have to get back to.

“I felt in the first half we allowed Southampton to play the long ball, which we knew they were going to do and they just launched it into our box and put us under pressure and we couldn't get out to win it back. Once they get quicker and sharper and more game time I am sure we will become a better side.”

Grant believes the changes he has made to City's playing personnel have helped shore up holes that caused problems last season.

“The biggest thing you have got is a bit of devilment and I felt we didn't have that last year,” he said. “I think probably the Preston game we would have lost and probably the Southampton game could have run away from us, but thankfully we had somebody to come on and change it.

“Last season we had to change the whole team to put on a sub. Bringing on different type of players for the same position makes it a little easier.

“I think that competition brings better performances come the Saturday because there will be guys disappointed to be left out, but Mark Fotheringham showed the way to react last week - he was left out and was quite rightly disappointed, but he comes on and does it the best way with his performance.”