EFL

Ian Foster urges Plymouth to climb the Championship table

By Sports Desk January 20, 2024

Ian Foster urged Plymouth to look up the table after claiming his first Championship win as Argyle head coach with a 3-1 win over Cardiff at Home Park.

Argyle soared to 15th on the back of two goals by Scottish striker Ryan Hardie, who also set up top scorer Morgan Whittaker for his 15th Championship goal of the season, after Cardiff had taken a 10th-minute lead through Perry Ng.

Foster said: “We expected a difficult game and they always are, they are tight at this level. You have seen the results in the league today. There is never an easy game.

“The message to the players was to claw these (Cardiff) back. I think they were six places and seven points above us. If it becomes 10 it’s almost impossible. It’s four now.

“I am really pleased with the players because there was evidence again today that they are taking on the information we are giving to them.

“I have been (in post) two weeks yesterday so we have not had that many sessions, four players very new to the football club on the pitch today and two of them have only had very limited time with the group.

“A lot of positives today but a game I thoroughly thought we deserved to win.

“We don’t want to be looking over our shoulders, we want to be looking up at the next team and that’s how we did it today.

“We looked at these and said ‘let’s get these back’ and that’s our challenge.

“Cardiff are the next team above us, four points, and we have got to bridge that gap as soon as possible.

“I am happy. It’s really challenging, I knew it would be. I am really enjoying it.”

Cardiff boss Erol Bulut said his side stopped playing after taking the lead.

Bulut said: “It is not the first time that I have been disappointed, the fans are disappointed.

“They are right because today we had the game in our hands, we started well and were leading 1-0 but after that the game is not finished.

“We stopped playing and the result was we lost 3-1. We had some changes but we didn’t score again, there was too many individual mistakes in different situations and they (Plymouth) scored from those mistakes.

“The game is not only 31 minutes, it is 95 minutes.

“We can speak about having only 15/16 players available, we had 11 players on the pitch so we have to do everything. We stopped after scoring the goal and it is not easy after that.

“We had similar problems in other games, we have to be more aggressive, we have been more aggressive and won games and the last two games – Leeds and today – was not like that.

“I don’t have players outside to replace them and they are getting tired, I don’t have anyone on the bench to make that change in defence. My players are doing their best and it is not enough.”

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    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Turkiye - Hakan Calhanoglu

    While the praise for Turkiye's young stars was warranted, it overshadowed the impressive display of Calhanoglu at the heart of their midfield against Georgia.

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    Portugal – Vitinha

    Another midfield maestro had yet another impressive display in their Group F opener, with Vitinha completing more passes under high-intensity pressure (59) than any other player in the opening round of games at Euro 2024.

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    MATCH PREDICTION – PORTUGAL WIN

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    Montella will be keen to continue his 50th birthday celebrations when he returns to Dortmund on Saturday, with the possibility of equalling their most victories in a single edition of the European Championship (two in 2008). They have only managed more at a major tournament in the 2002 World Cup (four).

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Turkiye - 17.8%

    Draw - 20.3%

    Portugal - 62%

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