Darren Sarll said he was pleased his Yeovil Town side did “never backed down” against Championship leaders AFC Bournemouth in the defeat which ended their FA Cup run.
A hat-trick from Cherries’ midfielder Emiliano Marcondes sealed a 3-1 win for the visitors and the manager was keen to praise his side for their willingness to take the fight to this high-flying opponents.
Speaking to BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins after the loss, he said: “We had a saying tonight ‘never back down’, we wanted to step in to the battle, we didn’t want to get to half-time and be talking about giving too much respect to the opponent.
“No-one backed down, no-one shied out of a challenge, and we made it messy for them at times which was something we knew we’d have to do.
“We had to try and rough it up a bit to get anything out of them and I thought the second half was an excellent performance.
“The first half I thought was patient, the first goal gives us no pride because we worked on that exact scenario too often this week, but I thought the players showed great character and I am pleased we did that.”
Having had a number of cases of COVID-19 in his already limited squad, the boss said that he was able to count on four substitutes with just under four hours to go until kick-off.
He ended up with a full complement of nine substitutes albeit only four of them – Charlie Wakefield, Sonny Blu Lo-Everton, Adi Yussuf and Reuben Reid – made it on to the pitch.
Sarll added: “Some of them were not in any condition to play, especially with the time they have played up until now, Charlie (Wakefield) being one of them.
“We have so many games coming up and we know what an important player he is for us but the physio and doctor were excellent to get the players in a shape to compete.
“We were pleased at 2pm that we started the day with four on the bench and we managed to get the full complement out, which we have not been able to do much this season.”
Looking ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Southend United in the National League, the boss said his side needed to get back to the form which had seen them go 13 matches unbeaten before a double defeat to Torquay United over the festive period.
He said: “All the razz, glamour and cameras are over now and it’s important we get back to being gritty and getting draws away from home, three points at home.
“We have to get back to the reality of what the fifth division of the game looks like, and Tuesday will be tough because (Southend is) a well-supported club and it has a bigger resource than us.”