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Cook Delighted For His Players

17 November 2012

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Chesterfield manager Paul Cook revealed just how delighted he was for his players after Chris Atkinson's 90th minute winner arrested a run of four home league matches without a win and ensured the former Accrington boss recorded his first maximum haul in charge.

The on-loan Huddersfield midfielder latched on to Marc Richards' deft touch to burst through and slide past Oxford goalkeeper Ryan Clarke in the dying seconds, as the Spireites bravely fought back from behind.

Fellow loanee Liam Cooper hauled the home side level on the stroke of half-time when he thumped home Brennan Dickinson's corner after John Mullins had given the Chris Wilder's side the lead inside just 60 seconds.

And Cook was ecstatic with the three points.

"It's a fantastic result for the players. It's a long week when you don't win football games and at our club there's pressure on us to win, we accept that," he told the club's media team at full-time.

"So today, to start like we did and play the first 15/20 minutes as bad as we did, when the lads have trained really well, gave us that mountain to climb. The amount of times when a team scores first, they don't normally lose. 

"To show that courage and character to come back was great testament to the players, i'm delighted for them. It shows that when we have to dig in, we can.

"Certainly today we shot ourselves in the foot early on and that can be tough at home," he added.

"When you go 1-0 down, especially against a very good Oxford side, they're well disciplined and they've got good players. So I thought it was a great testament to the players today. They showed great character to stick at it and go and win the game."

It was the 20-year-old's fourth goal for the Spireites and after notching the winner against both Aldershot Town and Exeter City, the Halifax-born midfielder clinched another valuable three points that sees Chesterfield move back to within six points of the play-off places.

It had initially appeared to be a frustrating afternoon until Cooper hauled the hosts level, but Cook is keen to stress that it will take time to implement his ethos on the squad.

"Our lads did well because we never played well and that is a pleasing thing as a manager," he went on to say.

"Goals must be contributed from all areas. Atko's [Christ Atkinson] got a record for scoring goals, we know Jack [Lester] scores goals. The most important thing is that players do what their job specification says.

"Today, although we huffed and puffed and didn't play well, i think our supporters will go home pleased tonight because without playing well we dug out a result against a very strong Oxford side.

"It was a fantastic goal, the build-up play was great," the Liverpudlian said about Atko's winner.

"It's what we must identify, when we've got two strong strikers on we're trying to hit our forwards quicker and support them. Our lads have struggled to identify that in games of how we're trying to play.

"It is about practice, so it becomes second nature. I know it's hard for the fans, we're not trying to overplay at the back. We're now trying to hit Jack [Lester] and Rico [Mark Richards] quickly and support them like Atko [Chris Atkinson] can do and we'll be more of a threat.

"Strong clubs have strong players and we think we are a strong club. We'd like to think that we're going to prove that, having players back of the calibre i've just mentioned can only be good."

You can watch Paul Cook's interview in its entirety exclusively on Spireites Player.

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