Stevenage manager Sarll happy with solid start and wants his team to keep ‘throwing the first punch’

PUBLISHED: 10:02 26 August 2017

Stevenage boss Darren Sarll on the sideline. Picture: Danny Loo

Stevenage boss Darren Sarll on the sideline. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

Stevenage FC have made a unbeaten start to the Sky Bet League Two season, and club manager Darren Sarll is happy with how things are going at the Lamex Stadium.

Boro picked up their first win of the season last Saturday, beating Grimsby Town 3-1 after draws against Colchester United and Newport County in their first two games.

Sarll is pleased with the opening weeks of the campaign, and expects his side to continue their good form.

The Boro boss told the Comet: “The start to the season has been solid and progressive.

“The pleasing thing is while we are trying to get players fit and back in contention we are picking up points.

“No disrespect to any of the players, but we probably had our strongest team this season last Saturday which only goes to help the performance and the outcome.

“It’s important we carry on down that path and get everyone fit and available for selection.

“It’s been solid but I have to say, I think the expectation has changed at Stevenage over the last 12 months.

“I expect to pick up those points now and while we are in that place mentally, that always goes towards raising standards, expectations and outcomes.

“If we had targeted any less we would be doing a disservice to our supporters and ourselves.”

One impressive feature of Stevenage’s game thus far has been taking the initiative.

In all three of their League Two games this campaign, Sarll’s men have scored the opening goal – something the manager believes he has drilled into his players.

“You have to start fast every game,” he said.

“League Two is just so relentless in terms of its work ethic, speed of the game and intensity so to be anything but ready, both physically and psychologically, means that you are always giving the opponent the opportunity to walk through the door first.

“It’s never been in my character to let people walk to the middle of the ring and throw the first punch, it’s almost like a retreat for me.

“I like my teams to throw the first punch and hopefully we can do that quickly and early enough to see the game out.

“We just need to retain that persistence we’ve had in our play so far and we’ll be fine.”

In contrast, Boro let a 3-1 lead against Newport slip on the opening day – eventually drawing 3-3 with the Exiles – followed by a 1-1 draw away at Colchester after Danny Newton had given them the lead.

Sarll believes that the mentality of the both himself and players must improve to correct this issue but he is not disheartened by either draw.

“Seeing games out is a mentality,” he said.

“Working on that practically in training is difficult because there’s not too many ways to practice it. It’s the mentality of both the players and myself, and it’s important that we work towards it.

“The point away at Colchester is a terrific point, I think the point at home to Newport will be a good point when we look back in 10 months’ time because you look at the side in that opening weekend compared to the side of last Saturday and you can see the changes.

“We are really progressing. I don’t think I’ve seen an eight out of 10 performance yet, but we are getting there.

“While we are evolving physically and tactically, we’ve got every chance.

“It’s when the players have a reduced enthusiasm to progress that I will be a bit worried but they’ve been brilliant again this week.

“Their work ethic’s been terrific and we’ll be ready for Barnet.”

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