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Match Reaction: "I’m Going to Take Confidence From the Performance"

The manager had plenty to say after seeing the Saddlers exit the Cup at the First Round stage.
Walsall manager Darrell Clarke spoke to members of the local press following the Saddlers' Emirates FA Cup defeat to Bristol Rovers and sought to remain positive despite exiting the tournament at the First Round stage.

Looking to build upon their midweek win over Crawley Town, the Saddlers fell behind during seven first-half minutes as Jack Baldwin (34') and Brandon Hanlan (39') saw the visitors reach half-time with an all-too comfortable lead.

Despite a much improved performance and a fourth goal of the season from Caolan Lavery (87'), the Saddlers were unable to take the game to extra time as Ben Garner's Rovers secured a place in Monday's Second Round draw.

Despite seeing his side fail to make the most of several strong goal-scoring opportunities the manager insisted he was pleased with their response to going behind, especially as injury and illness continue to blight his squad selection.

Speaking to the assembled media, Darrell said; "I’m going to take confidence from the performance.

"We’ve run a mid-table League One team and probably had more territory, advantage, possession and shots on target. I take the positives from that with a lot of key players missing.

"Eli has come off his sick bed, he’s only been able to do a light session as he’s been ill Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

"The lads are giving me everything and I’m just frustrated we didn’t perform as well as we could in the first 30 minutes than what we did in the rest of the game.

"They started bright and we probably paid them too much respect. We then had a lot more of the ball and if anything we probably deserved extra-time.

"But it wasn’t to be. Credit to my lads, we have a lot of injuries and illness in the camp and if you were at the game I don’t think you’d know there was a division between us."

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