Dean Keates not dwelling on Walsall mistakes

Boss Dean Keates says training has been about learning from mistakes rather than ‘character assassination’ following Walsall’s loss to AFC Wimbledon.

Dean Keates
Dean Keates

The Saddlers let a two-goal led slip to lose 3-2 at home to the Dons on Saturday.

That result means Walsall now sit just two points above the League One relegation zone with four games to play.

Individual errors cost the Saddlers dear against Neil Ardley’s side.

Some players also saw their commitment questioned by supporters.

But while still hugely disappointed with the result, Keates says the most important thing is that the squad learns from it.

“The lads know what they have done wrong – it didn’t need too much highlighting from myself,” the boss said.

“You don’t go for character assassination when you look back at games and analyse them.

“You try and point out what needs to be done better. For me, I always start at the point where we last had control of the ball.

“It’s not just about the mistake that has ultimately led to the ball going into the back of our net, it’s where we have had control of the ball last.

“They are the mistakes that I try and trace back so I can see how it’s ended up in us conceding a goal.”

Meanwhile, Walsall’s Erhun Oztumer has been named in the PFA League One Team of the Year for the second successive season.

The 26-year-old, who joined the Saddlers from Peterborough in June 2016, has bagged 16 goals in the 2017/18 campaign and is now hoping to add more as the Saddlers battle against the drop.

“I’m really happy to be named in the year of the year,” Oztumer said.

“All my hard work has been noticed by fellow players and I can’t thank them enough for the votes.

“I was keen to improve on last year’s tally and I’ve scored 16 goals, which is one better than last year.

“Hopefully I can add a few more before the end of the season and, most importantly, help the team get some points.”

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