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Watson “rightly disheartened” after Fleet loss

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Kevin Watson enjoyed watching the passing football on show from his charges this afternoon but was naturally disappointed with the set piece that proved the Fleet’s undoing this afternoon.

“They’ll need picking up but that’s my job,” he told BBC Radio Kent’s Matt Cole. “They’re rightly disheartened by losing but you switch off from set pieces, that’s what happens. I’ve stood outside [the dressing room] and thought, what do I say to them? Apart from the final ball that we refused a couple of times which I wasn’t happy with – because I’ve asked them to get on it, I’ve asked them to pass it. But at some point the ball has to go in the box when you get a chance and I felt we turned it down on numerous occasions today.

“[Maidenhead] rarely threatened. We’ve bossed possession and I know possession doesn’t count for goals but I’m extremely disappointed from the two days I’ve had with the boys – they’ve got on it and passed it and were confident enough to get on it and pass it – to lose that game. I’m extremely frustrated.”

Despite those feelings, however, Watson was pleased with the confidence his side showed in getting on the ball and taking the game to the visitors in the early stages.

“I was proud of them today, absolutely proud of the way they showed the courage,” he said. “There’s more than one way of being brave in a football match, more than just going around smashing people and getting in people’s faces. There’s having the bravery to get on the ball and pass it and in the two days I’ve been here, I’ve stressed that’s how I always played the game and that’s how I’ve always been coached to play it and I’ll continue to coach and manage that way.

“When you’re attacking you’re defending and I think sometimes we had so much of the ball today that we switched off when we had it. The first goal, we’ve watched the video and we know the lad’s got good quality, but for it to go in like that is an absolute sickener when we’ve got the first one and we’re playing so well. That’s what happens when you’re down there.

“The second half, they’ve rarely been in and around our box. There’s a couple that’s gone in the stand and it’s what happens. We’ve just got to get back to the training ground on Monday, keep a smile on their face.”

The result aside, there were bright points for the home side, not least the performance of Albie Morgan who showed his class throughout.

“It was an outstanding performance from him,” Watson said. “I told my back three – we changed the formation today and I thought that worked pretty well, we had loads of the ball – I said your first pass is Albie Morgan. I’ve got to be thankful to Johnnie Jackson at Charlton for making it happen. Initially, Albie didn’t quite fancy it but we’ve persuaded him. I played with Jacko and he’s told the boy that Kev will look after you, that’s the way he used to play the game. And I was absolutely delighted with what he produced today. An outstanding individual performance and he didn’t deserve to be on the losing team.”

Another newcomer was Newport loanee Marvel Ekpiteta, who had played for Watson before.

“A couple of years ago I had Marv at Bishop’s Stortford, I also took him to Hungerford and he had an outstanding season and moved on to Newport. He’s not really played loads of games so I knew he  was going to tire but again he fitted in and slotted in and did well.”

As for Watson’s own future, the former Rotherham and Colchester midfielder staked his claim to be given more time.

“There’s a lot of encouraging signs,” he said. “I’ve told the owner that I would love to take this team forward, especially with what I’ve seen today. They’re brave. Whatever’s gone before and whyever they’re down the bottom of the league doesn’t concern me. As far as I’m concerned, this is a fresh start. We’ve lost the first game but that’s all it is and we move on, I’ll move on until I’m told anything different. 

“To see the change, and I’ve had a couple of people already say to me about the change, is heartening. At the end of the day, we’ve lost the game again. And that’s a concern. I came into today’s game and I fully expected to win and to lose in the manner we did is gutting.

“It’s without any disrespect to Maidenhead, they play a totally different way to us and they’ve come and ground out a result so fair play to Dev and his players. But that doesn’t make it any easier for us to take because on the whole I enjoyed watching us today.”

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