MARK Cooper believes his young players need to learn to put their bodies on the line if they are to avoid conceding goals like they did in their 3-2 loss to Rochdale this evening.
Despite taking the lead through Anton Rodgers, Town gave away three free headers as Dale secured their first ever win against Swindon, through goals which Cooper thought were completely avoidable.
The Town boss was left frustrated by the number of chances his side missed as they dominated large parts of the contest, but it was his side’s defending which caused him the most concern this evening on a night where he was without suspended skipper Nathan Thompson as well as Raphael Branco.
“It’s a game we should never have lost, we looked very frail defensively and every time a long ball or a cross came into the box we looked like we might concede,” he said.
“Defenders have their markers and let them have free headers so that comes down to individual errors. When you’re without Nathan Thompson, Louis for large parts and Raffa Branco, we’re asking midfield players to play at the back we’re going to look a big fragile but, saying that, we still had chances to win the game.
“We had numerous chances with things flashing across the box and people smashing it wide, but we didn’t defend well enough to win the game.
“You lose that continuity because players are used to playing with certain players, but the second two are both corners.
“I know that if I was playing tonight they wouldn’t have got a free header because I concentrate and back myself that he isn’t going to get there ahead of me. That’s what it comes down to, that desire not to be beaten by your man to the ball.
“That’s something the younger players need to learn to do because whatever level you play, whether you’re going to play in the Premier League or the Ryman League, at some point the ball will come into the box and you have to be able to head it. You have to get cut and get a broken nose now and again.
“That’s what we have to improve on.”