By Alan Finn
SLIGO Rovers players have been praised by their manager following their second SSE Airtricity League Premier Division win of the season – Monday’s encouraging 2-1 away defeat of Bray Wanderers.
Winger Caolan McAleer struck twice inside the first half-hour, but team manager Gerard Lyttle has also called on his players to maintain that level of football for 90 minutes.
He said: “I was devastated on Friday because I felt we deserved something from the Waterford game, the boys put in a great effort in the second-half, but I was delighted to see them carry that performance into the Bray game.”
“I’m not happy with our 90-minute performances, we stepped off a bit in the second-half, but I will take three points by any means and on another night we would have been talking about winning by three or four goals.”
In what is already proving to be a highly-competitive top flight this season, even with five games played, Lyttle says it is too early to focus on their place in the table (third from bottom) as his team aim to unlock their full potential.
“I felt in the games against Limerick and Waterford we deserved at least a point, we have lost by fine margins in games where we should have taken our chances and were sloppy in defence.”
“We aren’t overly concerned with the table right now, we just want our team to continue gelling together, we are seeing signs of what they can do but there are things we need to work on, too.”
Despite losing three of their opening five games, victory over Bray Wanderers means Rovers are still off to their best start since 2013, having failed to amass more than four points after five games in any season from 2014 to 2017.
The erratic early form of Bohemians and St Patrick’s Athletic means there are just three points between the sides ahead of Rovers’ double-header away to the Dublin duo and Lyttle wants to make momentum earned from the win over Bray Wanderers to count.
“Everybody is battling for points and trying to get their teams settled at the minute.”
“I have always maintained that there is no such thing as an easy game in the League of Ireland and it is only on the day when you really know what your opposition is about at this stage.”
“Beating Bray Wanderers gave us good confidence going forward and we want to replicate that against Bohemians and St Pat’s,” he stressed.