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Matt Taylor delighted with Walsall's defensive improvement

Boss Matt Taylor has spoken of his delight over how Walsall have tightened up defensively in recent weeks.

The Saddlers – especially from set-pieces – struggled to keep teams at bay early on in the season and dropped points as a result.

However, the last two games have seen them keep clean sheets while Taylor, the odd suspension aside, has had a settled defence.

Carl Rushworth has impressed between the sticks while the back four of Hayden White, Rollin Menayese, Manny Monthe and

Stephen Ward are now a stronger unit.

On having a consistent defence to call upon and protecting their goal better, Taylor said: “It’s only settled because the players who’ve got the shirts have performed well enough to keep them.

“Those clean sheets are hugely important for us.

“We weren’t doing that at the beginning of the season.

“We weren’t valuing protecting our goal enough, I don’t think.

“Now, those respect levels for doing whatever we have to do to protect our goalkeeper are becoming better.

“We’re making better decisions and as a group, we’re getting ourselves into positions you need to be as a defender earlier.

“So, instead of it maybe being a 50/50 race, we’ve done the work earlier and got ourselves into the right position, and we’re seeing more consistent performances from the back four.”

Walsall were looking for a third shut-out in succession at Carlisle today.

Centre-half Menayese said on the backline’s progress: “It was just small mistakes at the start of the season that were costing us.

“I think we’ve tightened up a lot, and we’ve started to understand each other’s games a bit more.

“It’s a good foundation. When you keep a clean sheet, you always give yourself the chance of winning games.

“So, the more of them we can keep, the better. They’re crucial.”

Taylor, meanwhile, was also keen to praise the work being done in front of the defence.

He added: “It’s also the solidity in front of them.

“When you keep a clean sheet, it’s always the back four and the goalkeeper that get commended.

“However, it’s a team effort and defending starts from the front.

“And in the last two games, we’ve been good out of possession.”

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