Monday 19 March 2018

Lyttle: We targeted a win

Jessica Farry

Sligo Rovers manager Gerard Lyttle says his side must start turning draws into wins as their situation becomes all the more urgent, with the Bit O'Red continuing to flirt with relegation.

Rovers have won a mere four games all season, but they have picked up 12 draws - more than any other club this season.

The Bit O'Red sit second bottom of the table follow Saturday evening's draw with St. Patrick's Athletic, a game from which Lyttle had targeted three points.

"It feels like a defeat. That's how it feels. We need to start getting three points on the board rather than picking up one point here and there.

"We're behind my target, I set a target of more points on the board and we haven't done that.

"We targeted this game for a win and we haven't got that. We have to keep believing that it's going to change."

Rovers were well worth their lead in the first half, but an outstanding strike from Kurtis Byrne brought the visitors back into the game, and despite coming close towards the end of the game, Rovers could not find a late winner.

"It's frustrating at the minute because it's just about getting that win. It's annoying, it's frustrating. The boys are feeling it too.

"They're working hard, it just seems to be, world class goals or a slight mistake or a deflection, at the end there we're just a toe poke away from getting three points.

"It wasn't to be. It's annoying at the minute, we have to keep positive and remain focused and keep working hard and hopefully our luck changes and we get more points and more wins," Lyttle told The Sligo Champion.

Under the former Cliftonville manager, Rovers have picked up nine draws.

"There has certainly been an improvement in performances, but Lyttle feels his side are still not getting that slice of luck they still need.

He does feel, however, that the failure to win games is not a psychological thing.

"I don't know. Not really. You look at the goal, it's world class.

"Maybe we could have closed the ball down quicker but with a strike like that there's not an awful lot you can do about it.

"We don't seem to get those strikes, that wee bit of luck. I thought we dominated in the first-half in terms of their set plays and our overall play in the final third.

"They dictated a lot more in the second half and they were able to play about a bit more, they probably dominated possession in the middle of the park where we maybe should have got tighter.

"I feel for the boys, we tried to change things up a bit and go for the win with two up top and it's something that we maybe need to look at.

"With 3/4 four strikers now we need to maybe look at getting them on the pitch rather than square pegs in round holes.

"We might need to change things and try and get more crosses into the box."

Captain John Russell received plaudits from visiting reporters on the night, and Lyttle did praise the midfielder. But, he also applauded the contribution of his new signings.

"John was good. There are certain parts of his game, and coming from John he knows that, where we could have put more crosses in the box when he was in good positions to do that, his energy and his leadership was quality.

"I thought him and Rhys McCabe were different class.

"Young Jamie came on and did well, we'll look to get him more games.

"Greg, we've put him wide of a three, it probably didn't suit him.

"He's obviously frustrated to come off and then losing Dan so early in the game throws us a bit because we have to re-jig things.

"The quality is there. Now that the new players have come in they've given us a massive headache in terms of picking a team and picking a bench."

New signing Greg Moorhouse was withdrawn early in the second half following concerns over concussion, and Lyttle said he had to take the advice of his medical staff.

"We had to take advice from the physio. He said when he got hit he wasn't looking at him, he didn't want to come off.

"But we had to take advice from the medical team, that's what they're there for. It was important we did that.

"He was frustrated because on his debut he wanted to shine but I have no doubt Greg will be a big player for us."

A bug hit the Galway United dressing room during the week, and it appears a similar illness may have hit the Sligo Rovers dressing room, with Daniel Kearns struggling.

"There was a few boys feeling a wee bit off before the game. Myself included.

"There's a tummy bug going around. Dan (Kearns) felt a bit light-headed before the game, and we got him some caffeine tablets to give him a lift.

"During the game he felt off again, Greg was the same, even at half-time he felt his tummy was sore. The boys have a couple of days off and we'll get back to training this week and look forward to the cup game which will be a good distraction from the league."

Rovers travel to Longford on Saturday for their first outing in the FAI Cup this season, and the Rovers boss says he will look to field a strong team.

"We'll look at it but we're not taking Longford lightly. They're a good team.

"It's a derby type game. We'll be going fully loaded, with a strong team.

"We'll look to mix things up slightly maybe."

Sligo Champion