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Jon Whitney: Walsall enjoyed their football

Walsall | Sport | Published:

Interim boss Jon Whitney was delighted to see Walsall's players enjoy their football again following the thrashing of League One rivals Chesterfield today.

Two goals from Sam Mantom as well as a Jordy Hiwula strike and Tom Anderson own-goal saw the Saddlers sweep to a 4-1 victory at the Proact Stadium.

It was the dream start for Whitney who has stepped into the manager's job following the sacking of Sean O'Driscoll on Sunday.

As well as three points, the result ended Walsall's six-game winless run and saw them close the gap on second placed Wigan to just three points.

Whitney said: "We've all said a lot of things this week - me more than most trying to build some momentum with the fans and players.

"I've tried to get the players to relax, to enjoy playing football again. The effort they put in today was fantastic.

"The fans too they had their part to play and their percentage really helped us, so if we can do that again and keep that momentum building.

"That's what we are about and that's what we've done this season.

"When we've gone on a run of games, it's been because of the momentum and the tempo that we play at and the belief that the players have got.

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"I told the players, just stop and look at each other. Look at the player you've got next to you. What a hell of a player.

"Look at the technical ability in him, look at the guile and resilience in Rico Henry. Look at the experience we've got in Jimmy O'Connor and Adam Chambers.

"Then you've got Jordy Hiwula coming in on loan with his energy. They are fantastic ingredients for success. It's not always guaranteed but if you give me a performance we'll take that."

The Saddlers won the game despite falling behind in the first half to a bizarre James O'Connor own goal – with both the defender and goalkeeper Neil Etheridge appearing at fault.

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But, despite the set-back, Whitney always felt his side would get themselves back into it.

He added: "I looked at the body language after we went behind and I thought 'we'll be OK' because there were no heads going down.

"We knew we would create chances with the formation we played and those chances came to fruition.

"You can't be in the top four if you can't cope with adversity – you can't just play when you are one or two goals up, it doesn't work like that in football.

"What you have to do is keep believing, even if it takes until the 93rd minute.

"If we can salvage points in late stages that's great but today it worked out where we came back and had a dominant win."

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