Not much wrong here, says Chesterfield boss Dean Saunders after September slump

Blackpool vs Chesterfield - Brian Carey and Dean Saunders - Pic By James Williamson
Blackpool vs Chesterfield - Brian Carey and Dean Saunders - Pic By James Williamson

Chesterfield will be looking to put their September slump behind them at League One bottom side Crewe Alexandra on Saturday with boss Dean Saunders insisting there is not a lot wrong.

The Spireites lost four of their five September games, losing the last three in a row, culminating in a 2-0 setback at struggling Blackpool on Tuesday.

But Saunders remained upbeat, saying: “There has not been a lot wrong with us to be honest. It’s fine lines between us winning these games and getting results or not.”

He explained the fine lines of Tuesday’s defeat, saying: “At Blackpool they scored after a minute which was a scramble from a corner.

“Mark Cullen, who scored a lot of goals for Luton last year, has run from outside the box and, to be fair to him, it’s down to his brain and anticipation that he makes that run.

“We were all stood watching. He made the run and the ricochet from the shot that was blocked went straight to him. But he made it into a goal. Being a striker myself I could see what was going through his mind. He was on the move and he got to the ball first.

“So we were 1-0 down, and then we have 63 per cent possession and we made a few chances which we’ve missed.

“They’ve had three incidents where they’ve got through on Tommy (keeper Lee) and Tommy has made two great saves. They got in behind us when for some reason we were trying to play offside, which we shouldn’t be.

“They let us have the ball and were trying to steal it off us and counter-attack with the two quick strikers they have. We knew that before we started.

“So you just can’t lose the ball when you’re keeping it, especially when you’re going across the pitch with the ball.”

He continued: “At half-time we decided to put their back four under a bit more pressure and we put four up there and got the ball up there a bit quicker.

“Sylvan (Ebanks-Blake) has had a great chance. Then Liam O’Neill’s header could have made it one each but their lad has done brilliantly to clear it off the line.

“Not only did he clear it off the line, their centre forward got hold of it on the halfway line and they broke through and scored.

“So there was a fine line between us drawing the game, or maybe going on to win it with the chances we had after that, to us getting beat.”

Saunders said that lack of getting the rub of the green had been with them all month.

“The same happened at Coventry where Sylvan had a goal disallowed, which was a perfectly good goal, for one each and we ended up getting nothing,” he explained.

“On Saturday against Burton, Jay O’Shea got brought down in the 94th minute in their box. It’s a definite penalty. But they’ve run straight up the other end and taken the points off us.

“The week before at Colchester we were 3-1 up and we ended up drawing 3-3 with 10 men, and that feels like a defeat as we had the game won. Then the week before that we were 2-0 up against Wigan with 10 minutes to go and that felt worse than a defeat.

“When those things happen to you it knocks the whole squad and what you are trying to do. It has rocked us a bit.

“But, even when you win the league or do well, getting in the play-offs or whatever, you have ups and downs during the season.”

Saunders said some of it was also down to his new side still gelling after the departure of key players.

He said: “We had a good run at the start where we got 11 points quickly and were playing brilliant. We are still playing well, but I knew everything wasn’t going to go like clockwork as we’ve lost some really good players. They would be a loss to any team.

“If Manchester United lost their best five players, you’d see a difference. Liverpool lost one – Suarez, and look at the difference it makes there. So I knew I was going to have piece things together and I knew we were going to have blips.

“We are having a blip right now, but there is no reason why we can’t now win five games on the trot or go five games undefeated.

“There is not a lot wrong with us. We just have to keep going and in football sometimes you don’t the decisions, but we will get some and we will win games being a bit lucky.”

He added: “I have told the players this morning that I gave them all new contracts in the summer near enough and I have got total faith in them.

“All they have to do is just work a bit harder than they are working if they can as that’s the only answer when you are not getting success in any job you do, just keep working harder and think about what we are doing.

“At Blackpool we had four chances in the first half which, away from home, is good at any level, and didn’t score. You have to take you chances and we have to have players getting in the six yard box where it really matters.

“Our build-up play is excellent at times. At the moment we just haven’t got that ‘eye of the tiger’ where we have people in the right place clinically finishing chances that are coming our way. And they are coming. I would be worried if we weren’t making any, but we are making chances every game.

“We were making 14 or 15 earlier in the season, but away from home we are still making half-a-dozen chances every game, so we have to turn that possession into clinical finishing, and we are trying to do that.”