Chesterfield boss Dean Saunders philosophical as he tries to end losing run against Swindon Town

Dean Saunders - Pic By James Williamson
Dean Saunders - Pic By James Williamson

Dean Saunders was philosophical this week as he prepared to try to halt a run of three defeats for his Chesterfield side at home to struggling Swindon Town on Saturday.

The Spireites boss saw his side eventually beaten 3-0 at Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night in a game in which he felt they should have got something out of it.

“It’s important you look at it with a clear mind and be rational about it,” said Saunders.

“The game was even. We had lots of chances and missed and weren’t as clinical as Doncaster. Then we gave them the game – self destruct – by giving a penalty away. We’ve actually given them the game

“Before they scored the penalty we’ve got in their box three times and probably should have made more of the chances we’ve had.

“But we are giving teams the chance to get back up off the floor, and when we get in front we are not punishing teams. We have got to be a bit more clinical in front of goal and we’ve got to have more players scoring. Not just our strikers, we’ve got to have more players chipping in with a goal.

“I hope bad results spoil players’ weekends. I don’t sleep after we’ve lost and I was rather it was like that. The minute defeats stop affecting me, it’s time to bin it I think.

“I am as focused as ever, and I knew it was going to be a bit of a rocky road. Obviously if you lose £4 million worth of players in 18 months, there’s going to be a few dodgy results and a few bad patches. You’ve got to get through those bad patches. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.”

He added: “But we are doing some good things and we are doing some things you get when you are putting a new defence or a new team together.

“I’ve seen it before where these things tend to happen, and you have to look at the performance and forget the result. The bounce of the ball could cost you a result. The referee might not have given that penalty and Doncaster lose, even though it was a penalty.

“When you’re looking at a video of the game and trying to analyse what we are doing right and wrong, I tend to look a bit more deeply into it, even when we’ve won.

“I still find problems. I don’t just overlook them and sweep them under the carpet just because we’ve scored a great goal in the last minute. There’s still problems there that I need to iron out.

“So the thing is to keep a cool, level head. We are going to have bad runs and we are going to have good runs.

“There are a few teams at the top of the league that are over-achieving. They’ve been together and their small budget is made up for by the continuity they’ve had. That’s why they are getting results. They’ve been together a long time and these things don’t happen to them.”

Visitors Swindon have just enjoyed a pair of 2-1 home wins over Scunthorpe and Walsall, sandwiching a 5-1 hiding at Fleetwood and are only one place above the drop zone.

Three weeks ago they named former player Martin Ling as first team manager on a two-and-a-half-year deal after the sacking of Mark Cooper on October 17.

Ling, 49, played 190 times for the club in two different spells, helping them to the Premier League in 1993.

“We have to make sure we go into Saturday’s game in the right frame of mind because we are playing a team similar to us,” said Saunders.

“ They’ve lost their best four or five players in the summer and their manager has been sacked.

“Brendon Rogers (at Liverpool) got sacked for losing four or five of his best players so it happens to the best teams.

“They (Swindon) still try to play good football and are trying to get some consistency into their team. But Martin Ling is manager now, who will organise them. And you will see them coming again at the end of the season.

“I thought the manager was unlucky to lose his job, especially when you lose your best players.

“You’re not dead and buried in a relegation battle. There’s a long way to go yet.

“We’ve got to go out there on Saturday with total belief, work hard, work harder and do the basics right.”

Saunders said he was monitoring his squad intently during this busy period to make sure everyone stayed fresh and he could make changes on Saturday.

“We’ve had three games in a week, but I would probably have changed it if it was just one,” he said.

“One more game, you get some players injured, some are tired. You have to judge it. We have the technology. We have the GPS. We have to look who’s done what and we can sometimes spot injuries before they happen.

“With Saturday/Tuesday/Saturday fixtures there are normally a few changes anyway.

“Obviously all the supporters who watch the games, they all pick their own teams in their head and they all have their own opinion what’s right and wrong. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they are wrong. Sometimes I get things right and sometimes I get things wrong.

“But I’m the man who has to do it. I like doing it. It’s a great club. I am proud to be the manager of Chesterfield and I just keep going.

“We will have good runs and we will have bad runs. When we have bad runs you just try to keep them as short as you can, get a result and then try to start a good run again.”

Saunders expects Swindon to play good football on Saturday, come what may.

“They play total football,” he said. “They pass the ball around, and they try to do it with their key players missing, which has cost them a few games for obvious reasons.

“The club philosophy is still the same. Martin Ling has gone in there and they still try to pass the ball. They are a good team if you let them play. We’ve got to make sure we stop them playing.”