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Saunders: "The second half was outstanding from everyone"

26 July 2015

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Spireites manager Dean Saunders watched on as his side beat Championship club Burnley in a pre-season friendly at the Proact, and spoke to PlayerHD following the game.

After Lukas Jutkiewicz and George Boyd had given the Clarets two goals of breathing space, Jake Orrell quickly hit back for the hosts before the break, then Armand Gnanduillet came on and changed the game - scoring a beauty and setting up Byron Harrison in the last minute.

Following the match Saunders took stock and gave his reaction: "I thought Burnley started quickly and in the first 20 minutes I think we just sat off them and let them get their game together and we couldn't get near them.

"We went 2-0 down, and then we got on top of them. We put a bit of pressure on them and then eventually we got back in the game and then in the second half I thought it was outstanding from everyone.

"We looked really strong in the second half. Remember that we're playing against a Premier League team, I wouldn't have been surprised if they'd beaten us by four or five with the players they've got.

"So we've got to remember who we're playing against - the boys have done great, they'll get some belief from it - but I didn't get carried away the other night [against Hull City] and I won't get carried away with this one - I'll be talking about the goals we conceded more than the goals we scored."

Understandably the manager reserved special praise for Gnanduillet, but knows that he still has work to do to mould the striker into a more formidable player.

"He was brilliant when he came on," said Saunders. "His all-round play and his movement and desire to go past people and to win headers I thought was great. He just has to learn a bit more - for example when Gboly [Ariyibi] gets the ball I think everyone in the ground knows he's going to try and take the full-back on, but Armand's going out to him to get a pass. 

"So there are little things like that which I need to teach him. He needs to get to the back post and head it in, that's the easiest way of scoring."

The match came within 24 hours of reports that Sam Clucas will be departing the club, and Saunders was able to give his feelings about losing a key player and what it means for his recruitment drive.

He said: "The board did come out and say that unless we get an offer that we can't refuse he wouldn't be going. I'm really disappointed that we've lost him but he's going to a big club and we've got a big transfer fee for a League One player - there's not many League One clubs who get a fee like that.

"Good luck to him, now I'll have some money to re-invest in the squad and we'll sign two or three good players who can make a difference to us - but they'll have to be decent to get into that team.

"I was prepared for something like this and I still have my guard up. I said when I first came that I wasn't going to dive in just in case. I was shopping in Lidl but now I've got some money I'm into Marks & Spencers, so it's a different type of player I can sign."

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