SWINDON Town’s players should take inspiration from Chelsea’s performance at Manchester City on Monday night, as they look to edge closer to a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final appearance.
That’s the opinion of Robins manager Mark Cooper, who is keen to see his squad show the grit and determination, passion and desire of Jose Mourinho’s charges when he takes his team to Peterborough United this evening.
Cooper was impressed by the willingness of the likes of Willian and Eden Hazard to grind out a victory which threw open the Premier League title race earlier this week, and he’s hoping Town’s bunch of young pros will be able to use that example as they visit London Road for a 7.15pm kick-off.
“I don’t think it’s about tricks, it’s about putting the team on the pitch that you think is best to get a result and getting that team to execute what you want them to do. We’ve worked for two days on how we want to play and hopefully the players can carry that out,” Cooper said.
“It’s about which team for 90 minutes wants to win the most. Watching Chelsea, they had multi-million pound football players who are secure for the rest of their lives running until they had blood coming out of their ears - not for financial gain but because they wanted to be the best, they wanted to beat Man City.
“There were people like Willian and Eden Hazard, world class players, chasing back 90 yards for the cause. If you get a team doing that, no matter what level, you’ve got a chance of winning the game.”
Town rarely take part in two-legged ties and, though the Robins are due to entertain Peterborough again in a fortnight, Cooper is not planning on changing the way his team sets up this evening.
“It’s difficult with the way we try to play to throw something completely different at the players,” he said. “Obviously we’d be foolish to go out all guns blazing, willy nilly and end up losing 5-0. That could still happen.
“We want to try to stay in the tie. We want to win the game but of course both teams are going to have an eye on two weeks’ time.
“It’s a semi-final and anything can happen - penalties, red cards, bad decisions - you have to make sure you concentrate for 90 minutes and you’re switched on and at the worst we’re still in the tie in two weeks’ time.
“Both teams are in the position where they want to make sure they’re still in the game with 90 minutes to play.
“It could be a cautious affair. Peterborough usually play two up front but they might try to match our system and play one up front.
“I don’t know what they’ll do, whether they’ll play somebody up with Assombalonga or whether they play someone behind him, we’ll see on the night.
“We’re fixed on what we’re going to do and we’re going to try to execute that as well as we can on the night.”