16 September 2023

Lee Johnson ready for hard work as first Fleetwood game ends in defeat

16 September 2023

Lee Johnson is aware of the task he faces to drag Fleetwood up League One after his first match in charge ended in a 3-0 defeat to Oxford.

Goals from Stanley Mills, Billy Bodin and Kyle Edwards earned the visitors a dominant victory.

Fleetwood sit bottom of the table, with just one point to their name after seven matches, and new boss Johnson knows he has a lot of work to do.

“It was certainly not the start I wanted,” Johnson said.

“I thought it was neck and neck for the first 15 minutes, but then they scored a very good goal from their point of view and a very disappointing goal from our point of view.

“I’m looking at the boys and we have to commit. The biggest thing for me is that commitment.

“We had to commit to executing what we’ve worked on during the week and putting their bodies on the line – and we didn’t.

“Obviously we’re in this position and we are where we are. There’s a lot of hard work to do.

“But don’t get me wrong, I’ve lost no enthusiasm for the hard work which lies ahead.

“However, at the same time, we’ve got to be really honest with an evaluation of the game today.

“It’s a big job, but I understand that. You don’t normally get jobs which are top of the league, the club are flying and ready to go.

“But I won’t shirk the challenge, I’m very grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given here.”

Oxford boss Liam Manning paid tribute to his side’s togetherness registered their fifth win in their last six league outings.

“There was an unpredictability element with their change of manager, so it was never going to be an easy place to come,” Manning said.

“We knew it would be a tough opening to the game, which we spoke about, and to be fair it was.

“It took us seven hours of travelling to get here, so you have to take things like that into account.

“But huge credit to the lads.

“It was a professional performance which, ultimately, got us what we deserve.

“The goals were high-quality moments. We know we’ve got players who can produce moments of quality like that.

“We’ve got a variety of attacking players now who can chip in. We don’t want to be dependent on one person to score 20-25 goals, everybody has to chip in and play their part. We did that today.

“It could have been more as well because we hit the woodwork twice.

“But overall I’m delighted for the players because you can’t just turn up and do that, you have to work every single day.

“They’ve trained terrifically this week – and that’s their rewards for it. You can just see how together the group are.”

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