Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley says his team must live with the pain of defeat to keep it from happening again.

The Imps suffered just their 4th loss of the season on Boxing Day. Losing 2-1 to a struggling Crewe side, in a game where the league leaders never really turned up.

Cowley on Crewe loss

The defeat saw Cowley’s side lose their 6 match unbeaten league run, stretching back to the end of October.

Despite this concerning result, Lincoln remain 4 points clear at the top of EFL League Two. This is because rivals MK Dons and Colchester United both fell to surprise defeats as well.

However Cowley still highlights the disappointment of his side not showcasing the performance that their league position demands.

On the game, he said:

“We’re just really disappointed with ourselves, that we didn’t get to the levels that we expect of ourselves. And we have to live with that pain. We can’t have Boxing Day again, so we must use it as a reminder to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
“In my 12 seasons as a manager, I thankfully haven’t had many performances like that. We were disappointed with our levels, our mindset going into the game, as well as our intensity without the ball and our tempo with it.”
“With all that together, you don’t expect to win games. But you have to credit Crewe, as on the day, that was the best League Two performance we’ve had against ourselves.”
“Whether we allowed that performance is definitely arguable. We don’t affect the opposition, we only control us and what we do. And what we did wasn’t good enough.”

The result saw Lincoln concede more than once in a league game for just the 4th time this season, with this being the 1st time it had resulted in a loss.

Cowley on Cambridge

This Saturday sees The Imps play their final match of 2018, as they travel to relegation threatened Cambridge United.

The Us gained a first win in 8 games in all competition on Boxing Day after beating Crawley 2-1. But their poor season in general means they sit third from bottom, just 3 points above the relegation zone.

And Danny Cowley will see this as a chance to rectify the mistakes made against Crewe. Hoping to solidify Lincoln’s place at the top of League Two going into the new year.

On Saturday’s opponents, Cowley said:

“They’ve got a new manager, hugely experienced, played and coached at the top level. We’ve watched the Crawley game back, they fought really hard for the manager and the club.”
“They went behind in the game, and off the back of the form they had been in, they could’ve easily gone under. But they didn’t, they fought their way back. And they’ve had good home form for a period of time now, so it’s never an easy place to go.”
“We’ll be expecting a really tough game.”

On gaining redemption from midweek, he said:

“Tomorrow is more about us really, we were disappointed with ourselves on Boxing Day, and it hurt us. We’re proud people here, we pride ourselves on certain values, and we didn’t show those qualities in the game.”
“So we want to get back to being ourselves, and get that feeling of pride. And to me, Saturday’s performance goes well beyond the win, draw or loss column.”
“Let’s go and show everyone why we are, where we are.”

When The Imps faced Cambridge earlier in the season, they battled to a 1-1 draw, despite playing for 70 minutes with 10 men. So they will be hoping to go one better this time around.

Cowley on 2018

With the year coming to a close, Lincoln can reflect on what has been another successful 12 months for the club.

The men in red and white followed on from an unbelievable 2017, by reaching the play-offs in their first year back as a Football League club. As well as this, they played at Wembley for the first time in their history.

And Cowley hopes the club can once again use this successful year to give them momentum. And to help them create opportunities that will make 2019 even better.

On the year, Cowley said:

“It was always going to be tough to follow 2017, because that was pretty special. And I’m actually really proud that we’ve been able to more than match what we did.”
“For us to get to the play-offs in our first year back in the Football League was a huge achievement from the group that we had at the time. To take the club to Wembley for the first time in its 133-year history and beat a top League One team was a highlight.”
“We’ve had a good start to the 2018/19 season, and we’re hoping it’s going to give us a platform to be able to push on into 2019.”
“I can promise everyone that we will continue to work relentlessly hard to continue to move this football club forward.”