“DELIGHTED” is not the sort of word you expect to hear from a manager whose side has failed to win for five games.
However, Derek Adams is looking at the big picture and, although results have not gone the way of his Pilgrims so far this season since their return to Sky Bet League One, he has seen enough from his players’ performances to satisfy long-term ambitions.
“We have played a lot of good teams and have competed really well,” he said, as Argyle prepared for Saturday’s visit to Bury.
“We feel we should have more points than we do. I’m delighted with the way the players are; I’d be more delighted if we had taken our chances. The other night, we had five or six very good chances against Blackpool and we didn’t take them. When you are on top, you need to take your chances.”
Argyle’s start to their post-promotion campaign has been a catalogue of injuries, accidents and sendings-off that has mitigated some encouraging displays.
Derek said: “We have scored three own goals this season – Miller, Sawyer and Bradley; we have had three red cards; we have had a leg-break and an ankle-break, and we are only seven games into the season.
“It’s difficult for the players, because they are a good group who work really hard and they are not getting the rewards for their hard work at this moment in time.
“They’ll get there. You see the right signs; you see, by the players on the pitch and the chances created, we are doing well.”
Since beating Charlton in their opening home match, Argyle have lost three Home Park matches after being reduced to ten men fo
llowing sendings-off for Antoni Sarcevic, Graham Carey and Ryan Edwards, the last in Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to Blackpool.
Derek said: “In that spell in the game, we have always been on top in the match and we have felt that, at the moment in time, someone has just popped a balloon and sucked all the air out of us. You saw that from the reaction of the players.
“It’s been difficult. We’ve played three games now with ten players for 45 minutes, working out the game-time roughly, in each of them. That’s not easy at any level of football.
“I felt for the players on Tuesday night because they had played from the 33rd minute on Saturday with ten players and then had to play from the 65th minute on Tuesday night and you could see them visibly think ‘Oh no, not again’.
“They have put in so much effort and they just need a break now. They will get it because they are very good professionals and they will keep on working hard and get their rewards.
“We just have to keep on knuckling down and it’ll turn – it always does and the players are old enough and wise enough, and have good experience throughout the squad, to realise that.
“Their spirits are alright, considering what they have been through, and they have been through a difficult period.”