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Championship Play-Offs: What the managers had to say ahead of the second legs

20 May 2021

As Brentford, Bournemouth, Swansea City and Barnsley prepare for the Championship Play-Off Semi-Final second legs on Saturday, all four managers have been speaking to the media.

Here is just a flavour of what they had to say… 

Thomas Frank - Brentford

“I thought the first leg was a very intense and even game between two sides who wanted to win the game. I think in the first half, Bournemouth were slightly better than us, but still even to an extent. Ultimately though, these games are defined by fine margins and that’s what happened. 

“We’re still in this game. We knew before we went into the first leg that the result would be decided on Saturday and we’re very much still in this and we’re ready for that. 

“I’m looking forward to playing in front of our fans. They’ll be on it and I’m looking forward to the atmosphere on Saturday, because we’ll need that if we want to win the game. “Last year’s Play-Off experience is a fantastic foundation to start from and we know what the Play-Offs are all about. It’s going to be so tight on Saturday, but we will be there and we have a strong belief that we can make it through.

“Well done to Bournemouth of course, but we will come out flying on Saturday.” 

Jonathan Woodgate - AFC Bournemouth

“I thought we performed really well in the first leg, we were absolutely outstanding on the counter attack, but it’s only half-time. Brentford are an exceptional team and we need to be right at it on Saturday, we can’t afford to be complacent. 

“It could maybe have been more than 1-0, but before the game I’d have taken that scoreline. It’s half-time and we’ve only got a slight advantage. We’ve got to go to Brentford and put in a good and professional performance against a really good team. 

“It’s a long way to go, we’ve got a couple of injuries but we’ve got to manage that.”

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Steve Cooper - Swansea City 

“Barnsley are a difficult side to play against and there was a chance that we could come unstuck, but we didn’t. I thought we handled them really well in the first leg. I’m really pleased with the resilience the lads showed and the effort that they gave overall. 

“The first leg was an emotional game, it’s really good to have supporters back in the stands and I can’t wait to get back to our place on Saturday now and welcome our fans back, it’ll be a moment to savour for sure. 

“We’ve been here before, as little as 12 months ago and a lead in the first leg means nothing if you don’t take that into the next game and build on it. The final whistle in the next game is the most important one and that’s where our focus is. 

“It’s about the togetherness and the collective. Andre’s goal has given us a small margin of advantage heading into Saturday and his goal was a bit of magic, but it’s still only half-time.”

Valerien Ismael - Barnsley 

“In the first 20 minutes of the first leg, I think maybe we felt the occasion a little bit. We didn’t play too well in transition and we didn’t put the ball in the areas that we wanted. That made it difficult to get into the game. 

“Our second-half performance was much better, we had some really good chances and it’s only half-time. Of course we could have been more clinical, if we want to go through we have to score goals and we will work really hard on that in the next few days. We need to prepare well and show big desire to come through. 

“I think it will be good for us to play away without any pressure on us, and we will play like we did in the second half from the very first minute on Saturday. We have a great belief and a great desire in the squad to turn this result around. 

“We have nothing to lose, the pressure is on them to build on the first-leg result. If we score one goal, we’re back in the game so it’s only half-time and Saturday is all about staying in the game and playing well. We deserve to be here, we have 90 minutes more to give everything we’ve got and leave with no regrets.”

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You can follow further build-up, as well as updates on the second legs, via @SkyBetChamp on Twitter. 

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