'Disconnected' - Matt Taylor on Bristol Rovers' lack of solidarity ahead of Cheltenham Town

Matt TaylorMatt Taylor
Matt Taylor
The Rovers boss previewed his side’s trip to Gloucestershire as the Gas search for their first goal in seven matches.

Bristol Rovers boss Matt Taylor says that his group are ‘disconnected” as the Gas search for their first goal in seven matches.

Rovers travel to relegation struggling Cheltenham Town this weekend, with Taylor’s side winless in seven. Whilst the Robins have won just one out of their last 10 matches in League One.

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When asked about motivation Taylor said: “The players generally do that, in terms of where the group is, it is so disconnected at the moment,” said Taylor. “

“But there is still some I believe so much in and I love coming into work to see them and work with them, obviously the balance for any manager is to get that core group of the ones you want and to keep investing in and also bleed new ones on top of that.

“Energy, athleticism, quality and skill levels across the board, but there is still some people I would really like to be around. It just doesn't quite show on the pitch at the moment and your trust is an incredible thing as a manager.

“Because you have to trust the players in order for your job security, safety and longevity and the longer it goes on you either gain or lose a manager’s trust and at the end of the season a lot more things will become apparent in relation to that, but it's just getting through it in a better position than we are right now and hopefully the end of season headline isn't in a negative one and that it is in a positive way,” he added.

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The elephant in the room for Rovers at the moment is of course the fact that the club have failed to score a goal in over 700 minutes of football.

“Of course we talk about it, you have got to face up to it,” said the 42-year-old. “You can’t hide away from it, or ignore the fact that we are not putting the ball in the back of the net.

“We have created chances in the last two games, we showed 10 minute clips at the start of the two second halves, where we seem to create most of our chances. But confidence of course is a big factor and also the pressure of the games.

“Sometimes when you are behind or knowing that the game is in an interesting position, it just holds us back a little bit, we have got to find a way of taking that pressure away, it is easy to talk about, but it is so difficult to do so. I'm not on the pitch trying to do it, the players are trying to do that and I've got so much respect for what they are trying to do, just the end isn’t quite happening at the moment, but we believe it will happen and change.”

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Boos jeered around the Mem both at half-time and full-time on Tuesday night, as Reading comfortably defeated the Gas 2-0.

“I was not pleased by anything on Tuesday,” said Taylor.

“But I would rather it was aimed at me, as opposed to the players. I do feel the group just needs to be de-loaded of any pressure and expectation. They have probably had that too much throughout the course of this whole season and it has affected us at times.

“Managers are in a certain position at a football club, I am not the one kicking the ball, but obviously directing it from the outside, so hopefully that maybe just takes a little bit of pressure off the players, but then game pressure you can't hide away from.

“Whether that is Reading on Tuesday night, or Cheltenham this weekend, the games are always in the balance, until the big moment doesn't go your way and then we look back at missed opportunities, or a mistake in terms of a goal against, as that just changes the whole feel and your whole demeanour. You have just got to accept it and see it for what it is.

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“I take full responsibility for the teams form. When you walk into a job, you are the manager of that group of players and there's a lot of side issues I think we all know that, but that's no excuse for our results and our performances on the pitch.

“I think there is a whole lot more that this group is capable of, but everyone needs a little bit of time to implement what you really want out of a group of men and I'm sure next season people will see that.”

Saturday’s visit to Gloucestershire is certainly an opportunity for Rovers to finally pick up some much needed points, where they face a Cheltenham side that is shot of confidence themselves.

He added: “As much as we have spoken about the plan, it is next and the end of the season is still two-and-a-half weeks away, which is a long time in football.

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“We have got four games left. Football is what we are paid to do and we are in the business and you should never not look forward to a game of football. I think the day that you don't look forward to a game of football, is the day you hang up your boots, or you stop managing, or you stop wanting to be part of it, because we are in such a privileged position as men and in society, where we get to do something we love.

“So many kids grow up wanting to be a footballer and so few make it and even when it's difficult, you have to find solace and strength in that and keep believing in yourself and keep it believing that you'll be able to make a difference, given time.”

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