Noah Dougherty
Tuesday 12 March 2019

Mark Cooper speaks following his side's confident 3-0 win over fellow play-off contenders Colchester United.

The Forest Green Rovers boss talks through two tactically perfect goals and discusses the bounce-back factor after Saturday's defeat. 

Well Mark, a 3-0 win away to a good Colchester side. That was the result and performance that we needed wasn’t it?

Yeah, we needed to bounce back after the last few games because we have not been good, but the players were outstanding tonight and they carried out the game plan meticulously well but if you don’t have fight, spirit and desire then it doesn’t matter. Whether you want to play long ball or short ball, you can’t win games of football without desire and tonight that was there in abundance.

Those first two goals in the first half, you must have been purring on the side-lines watching that. They were straight from the training ground.

That’s it, that’s what we’ve been about for the last couple of years and when we do it well we are really good at it. It enabled us to take a commanding lead and we set up a little bit differently today, we defended a bit deeper and tried to counter attack which the boys carried out perfectly.

How vital was Lewis Ward in those goals? To show the composure and bravery to stick to what you guys were telling him what to do.

When we stick to what we do then we can get results consistently but some weeks we will get it forward and then we end up in a fight and get beaten. We’ve got some really good technical players like Reece Brown and if we can get him on the ball enough times then we’ll make goals.

On Reece Brown, you rested him on Saturday. You’ve got to rest certain players at certain times during the season haven’t you?

Yes you do. Reece has played nearly every game and like the majority of players he has not been at his best over the last five or six weeks and I just felt we needed to look after him because we have a duty  of care and we had this game in mind. He was outstanding tonight.

As you would expect from a side fighting for the play offs, they came at us in the second half but w controlled the play and got that third goal through Christian Doidge. It may have been offside but he took it well.

No, it wasn’t offside. I’ve just seen it on the footage but of course, when you are 2-0 up the opposition are going to come at you but the players defended really well and closed the gaps, blocked the crosses, blocked the shots and marked their men in the box. We always looked a threat on the counter attack.

Lee Collins with a superb performance in the centre of the defence. How’s he feeling after that knock?

Hopefully it’s not too serious but it could be a calf strain which would rule him out of Saturday. Tonight he made Rawson and McGinley better and it enabled Gav to move into midfield.