Goal hero Bryn backs boss’s loyaltyBy Nick Ive
November 27, 2008
Unlikely goal hero Brynjar Gunnarsson insists Steve Coppell was right to give his players a second chance for Tuesday night’s trip to Cardiff City.
Steve Coppell resisted the urge to wield the axe for the showdown at Ninian Park despite the horror display three days earlier at home to Southampton in which his men were played
off the pitch in a 2-1 defeat.
Royals again started slowly against the Bluebirds, but despite been reduced to 10 men after 30 minutes following a straight red card for Andre Bikey and then giving a penalty away,
the visitors battled superbly to pick up a point in a 2-2 draw.
And substitute Gunnarsson, who popped up with the second-half equaliser, said: “No, I don’t feel disappointed the manager didn’t make any changes. Sometimes you don’t have to
“Everyone was disappointed on Saturday but there was a chance for those who played to put it right at Cardiff.
“I guess it was fair to give them that chance. The game didn’t pan out like we thought it would, but we still had to get people into the box when we were goal down and it was good to
get the draw in the end.”
Ivar Ingimarsson was one of the few who escaped the first home defeat of the season against the Saints with his reputation in tact and he admits the team were keen to repay the
manager’s faith in him.
“The gaffer just said to us ‘you have to perform better than that otherwise I am entitled to make changes.’
“He wanted to give people another chance because to be fair they have done well up to that game.
“I think people paid that back in some way.”
Midfielder Gunnarsson was only on the pitch so early because of Bikey’s dismissal and the Iceland international admitted: “I guess you could say an unlikely hero but we got through to
half-time thinking we would keep it tight for the last 15 minutes but as it went we got an early goal in the second half which made it easier for us to sit back and soak up the pressure.
“I probably wouldn’t have been on the pitch had there not been a red card, but luckily I was there to get on the end of the cross and get the goal.
“I think we would have settled for that at half-time. They didn’t have as many chances in the second half as they did in the first half, so we were very happy with the second half.”
Gunnarsson’s fine strike at Ninian Park was his first of the season, but Royals coach Wally Downes hailed the 33-year-old for his contribution.
Downes said: Downes said: “There isn’t many situations that Bryn wouldn’t have been in with international football.
“He comes on and nothing fazes him and when the opportunity falls for him he sticks it away. After that he does all the right things at all the right times.
There’s not many things you can throw at Bryn that will faze him.”