On the RSL’s first-half and tactical approach
There was definitely a tactical change. The way the first half played out… I don’t want to say it was the way we wanted it to, but that’s what we expected and we were going to sit deeper and we were going to counter. (...) We knew we weren’t going to have much of the ball in the first half and we were okay with that. I thought they did a fantastic job up until falling asleep on the goal.
This is a good bit of recognition from Petke on two levels: First, he’s actively and openly admitting to the team’s approach in the first half, and second, he’s actively and openly admitting that the team fell asleep. There’s no “luck of the draw” here — he’s owning this one on behalf of the team.
On positives from the match
(...) I told the guys after the game, and they understand and I think they agree, that this was not a loss tonight. We made so many strides in what we want to do and who we want to be in this one game alone. I’m proud of them.
... The mentality and listening specifically to what we wanted to do – the game plan. Over the last three or four weeks, there’s always been a slip up and it always had to do with the game plan and guys falling asleep or not listening – who knows. But today, it seemed everybody to a man, did [listen].
“Guys falling asleep or not listening” — it’s nice that he’s saying we’ve improved in that way. The implication, of course, is worrying — and you have to think that’ll end up with changes on the team.
On Joao Plata
I think he’s frustrated, and he should be, because he wants to score goals and help the team. I’ve been very happy with Plata over the last two or three weeks, I really have. I think he’s going in the right direction. Someone like Plata feels the game. His experience and where he’s from, you feel the game. I don’t put many restrictions on these guys in the final third. I don’t let them have free reign, but I’m very clear that if you isolate someone out wide, I’ll never get on you for losing the ball. I want you to go at them. Perhaps there are better options, but we’ll get there.
“We’ll get there.” That’s something I need to remember — this isn’t the finished product, and that’s going to affect every player, including Joao Plata. It’s just a nice reminder.