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Reaction: Duff on play-off second leg

22 June 2020

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Michael Duff was left bitterly disappointed for his players that his Cheltenham Town side produced one of their poorest displays of the season to cost them a place at Wembley in the League Two play-off final.

Leading 2-0 from the first leg following an excellent performance at Northampton last Thursday, a Vadaine Oliver goal and Callum Morton double saw the Cobblers turn the tie around and make it through to the play-off final where they will take on Exeter City.

In his first full season as a manager Duff has led his team to 4th in League Two, and was disappointed that his team won't get the chance to fight for the last promotion place to League One next week at Wembley.

"We didn't turn up. We got beaten up. We didn't do the basics of the game as we normally do well. We didn't do any part of it well," he said.

"That put us on the back foot and then we didn't pass the ball particularly well. Every department of the game we didn't do very well - that's why you get a result like that.

"Generally we've done it well all season. It's the first time we've been beaten up all season and the third goal probably encapsulated the night's performance.

"It's disappointing because it was on the biggest stage. But you've got to suck it up and learn from it.

"They play in a very basic way but they do it very effectively. I'm not going to say there's a certain way to play - play to your strengths - and they did it.

"I thought (Vadaine) Oliver was a handful, Callum Morton never stopped running all game, and they did it better than us, there's no getting away from it.

"There's players walking out the dressing room that you'll never see again. The ultimate feeling is they're devastated. That's a year's work that. 

"There's been blood, sweat and tears. It's difficult to reflect on it positively but if you take where we've been and where we are now we are disappointed that we've not just got to Wembley.

"I think it shows the work that's gone in and it's been a good season. We've just finished fourth in the league. So it's mixed emotions. 

"It's getting them to recognise, particularly the younger ones, that these opportunites don't come around too often. It's difficult and you do have to suck it up and reflect what you could have done differently. We'll be doing the same as a staff.

"Ultimately if you don't head it and kick it as much as they do it doesn't matter what formation, what patterns, all that sort of stuff, you're never going to have the ball."

Watch the full post-match interview with Duff above at the top of the page.


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