Westley hails Zoko after striker’s dazzling display

Francois Zoko scores his second goal

Francois Zoko scores his second goal - Credit: Archant

Stevenage manager believes his players are ‘much more focused on winning now’

Graham Westley praised the Francois Zoko factor after the Ivorian striker scored both goals in Stevenage’s 2-1 win over Brentford on Saturday.

Yet it wasn’t only the goals that delighted the Stevenage manager, with Zoko’s record now standing at three in two games, but also the frontman’s work ethic in the dying seconds of the match that Westley says sums up ‘the Stevenage way’.

“If you’re asking me to go to an outstanding performer you have to go to Zoko [and] not just because he got the goals.

“I said to [the players], right at the very death there was a moment when Oumare [Tounkara] gave the ball away in a central area and Zoko, who has barely played a game and is going to be short of match fitness, made a 60-70 yard run from the centre of our attack into our penalty area to support the back four as they were defending a counter attack.

“It’s that level of commitment that epitomises I think the way the team is starting to play. It’s what we’re renowned for, it’s where we’ll be in the future and it’s what the boys are starting to pick up on now.”

Saturday’s victory over the Bees was Boro’s first win at home in the league this season, and it ended a six game winless run in League 1.

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The second goal was a neat finish from Zoko after Jordan Burrow had been unable to finish off Lucas Akins’ low cross, but it was Zoko’s first that set tongues wagging.

Having gone behind to Clayton Donaldson’s effort just 90 seconds earlier, Boro pulled back level when Zoko closed down Brentford’s David Button and blocked the goalkeeper’s clearance with the ball bouncing backwards and into the net.

Westley, though, missed the goal.

“I wasn’t watching. I was turned the other way. It went to the goalkeeper and I turned away to speak to somebody and it was in the net,” he said.

“I just had to ask who scored it and that was that, I haven’t got a clue.

“Things happen for you when you make them happen. You don’t get the luck that you don’t deserve; you do get the luck that you do deserve. I always say that.

“In football if you’re getting bad luck so to speak then it’s probably because you deserve it and you’ve got to take a long, hard look at yourself and work out what you have to do to make sure the luck falls in your favour.

“You can see that the players are much more focused on winning now, you can see that their work ethic has gone up a notch. You can see that their togetherness has gone up a notch, you can see that their belief in how I want them to play has gone up a notch and it is no surprise to me that as all of those things are happening results have turned.”

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