'I don't think lack of friendlies we've played affected our performance against Sligo' - Motherwell manager Graham Alexander responds after shock home defeat in Europe

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander has refused to accept that ’Well playing only two pre-season friendlies was a factor in his side’s below par showing in Thursday night’s shock 1-0 home defeat by Irish minnows Sligo Rovers in the Europa Conference League second qualifying round.
Graham Alexander watching his team suffer shock first leg defeat against Sligo (Pic by Ian McFadyen)Graham Alexander watching his team suffer shock first leg defeat against Sligo (Pic by Ian McFadyen)
Graham Alexander watching his team suffer shock first leg defeat against Sligo (Pic by Ian McFadyen)

Last weekend’s 1-0 bounce game win at Partick Thistle – following a 5-1 victory against Austrian second division side SK Vorwarts Steyr earlier this summer – were the only fixtures fulfilled by the Steelmen before their European campaign started.

But when asked if this had hindered his side against Sligo, Alexander said: "No - I don’t think so. Like I say, we created more than enough chances to win.

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"We gave a goal away that was just a mistake. It’s not as if we were under intense pressure. We’d lots of chances.

"That’s the way the game sometimes goes. We still have the second leg to go and win (in Ireland next Thursday).

"What we’ll do is go and try and win games of football.

"You can’t say the team didn’t try its best to win that one. The game is about scoring more goals than your opponent and we didn’t do that tonight.

"We have to process that we didn’t do that. That’s the game sometimes. Sometimes you don’t get what we deserved and I don’t think we got what we deserved tonight.

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Alexander is upbeat about ’Well’s chances of still winning the tie.

He said: "Keep believing. We understand where we can improve, we did a lot of good things but the game is about winning.

"It’s frustration that we didn’t win the game. I think we did more than enough to win it.

"The goal speaks for itself. It was a mistake but an honest one.

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"That gave them something to protect. They sat deep at times but we still created enough chances to win the game but didn’t take them.

"But it’s only half-time. It’s still there to try and win.

"I thought there was a little bit of slowness in our play before they scored, we took too many touches. That was more of a tactical thing not sharpness of movement.

"But we are getting up to speed. Regardless of how long you pre-season is, how many games you have, the first competitive game is always different to any other game of football you play in."

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