SWINDON Town’s players seemed in “good spirits” when they returned to training yesterday despite the nature of their defeat to Peterborough United, according to manager Mark Cooper.
The Robins boss gave his squad two days to rest, recuperate and collect their thoughts after they were dumped out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Monday night before gathering in the mud at Liddington on Thursday morning to prepare for the weekend trip to Leyton Orient in League One.
Cooper was pleased to see the players focused on the job at hand tomorrow and said the mental after-effects of the penalty shoot-out loss don’t appear to be lasting.
“They seemed okay. Obviously there were the usual jokes with Massimo (Luongo) and Tijane (Reis) when we were doing a bit of shooting practice. We had to have some nets put behind the goal for Mass and Tijane,” he said, referring to the penalties missed by the two players on Monday.
“That’s football. You have to get on with it. We should have won the game and we should have gone through. I keep seeing the penalty decision and it’s a remarkable decision that we don’t get a penalty and they don’t go down to 10 men.
“On fine details like that games and careers can change but we have to deal with that. The players were in good spirits this morning and we’re thoroughly looking forward to going to Brisbane Road on Saturday.”
Cooper stressed that Luongo and Reis have been well supported by their teammates in the days after defeat to Posh.
“It can be a place where they’re welcomed into the group and the other boys will take the mick but they’ll be getting round them, making sure okay and making sure they’re ready for Saturday,” he said.
“We have to try to use the disappointment as a tool to spur us on to bigger and better things - whether it’s this year or next year we have to use that and look back on the disappointment and make sure we don’t feel that again.”
And as for the Swindon manager himself? Cooper admitted that it took time for him to accept the nature of his club’s JPT exit but he made sure not to ponder over it too long.
“It took me a couple of days but I can’t be seen as the one moping about, I have to be there to pick the players and the staff up,” he said. “I’ve tried to do that, I’ve tried to be bright and breezy, be at the forefront, carry the flag and make sure the players know I’m happy with their effort the other night and we’re good to go on Saturday.”