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Johnson: Let's take the positives

Damien expressed his frustration after the 3-3 draw with Cardiff, but was happy with his side's character

10 October 2017

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Damien Johnson was naturally frustrated to see his Under-23 side denied a win over Cardiff by a late equaliser on Tuesday, but says there are positives to take from the game.

Rovers looked to be heading for victory in Leyland after in-form striker Joe Nuttall scored his second of the match to put the Blues 3-2 ahead with just minutes remaining, but the visitors snatched a draw at the death.

Nuttall might have earlier put the result beyond doubt but saw his penalty saved, adding to the sense of disappointment in the home dressing room after the game.

"Obviously, we're frustrated," Johnson said. "There were a lot of positives in our performance, but we're disappointed with the goals we conceded.

"The guys in the dressing room don't need me to tell them. Especially after getting the third goal so late on, you've just got to see the game out and defend well and properly. It's a lesson for the defenders.

"One [goal] should be enough, especially with just a few minutes to go. We showed good character; even with missing a penalty we wanted to keep going, so there were some positives in terms of our attacking play.

"But, if you can't do the basics right in terms of defending balls into your box, you're going to have problems. That's just a lesson for us to learn tonight, it's good to have a different type of game and come up against a different style of play.

"This was a bit more direct; they came and sat back and asked us questions with balls into the box. As I say, we've got to deal with all types of situations and unfortunately we didn't tonight."

One player who caught the boss' eye was 18-year-old Dan Butterworth, who netted Rovers' second goal of the night, just four days after signing a first professional deal at the club.

"Yeah, it's been a very frustrating time for him, with picking up an injury in pre-season and then fracturing his toe after coming back against Southampton," Johnson added. "He's worked really hard and showed great potential.

"We're delighted that he's signed a contract and he's shown what he can do tonight. He looked a real threat, and his goal was teriffic. He's got to keep that up.

"Of course, we want to progress - it's a cup competition. We want to get out of the group, but we're looking at the performance and if it was better in terms of defending our box then we'd have won the game.

"In terms of being in possession, we'll probably play a lot worse than that and win games, but tonight we got punished."

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