'Of course, you doubt yourself': Graham Alexander on Bradford City's poor recent League Two run and instigating a response

BRADFORD CITY boss Graham Alexander professed to doubting himself during the club’s grim and worrying recent four-match losing sequence - and says that he had to draw upon all his experience to manufacture a response.

City were left reeling after a quartet of defeats - to Forest Green, Mansfield Town, Notts County and Mansfield Town - which ended their realistic hopes of ending in the League Two play-offs.

Alexander’s side scored just one goal in those matches and let in 13.

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The net effect is that the Bantams were not in a good place ahead of the Easter programme. A haul of four points against Tranmere Rovers and Grimsby Town has thankfully managed to steady the ship.

Bradford City manager Graham Alexander, pictured during the recent League Two game at Harrogate Town. Picture: Tony Johnson.Bradford City manager Graham Alexander, pictured during the recent League Two game at Harrogate Town. Picture: Tony Johnson.
Bradford City manager Graham Alexander, pictured during the recent League Two game at Harrogate Town. Picture: Tony Johnson.

On whether he had any doubts during the rough run, Alexander, whose side host Gillingham on Saturday, said: “Of course you doubt yourself. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence would question what you do if they’re not getting the results they work for.

"It’s human nature to question, but that’s why it’s important to learn about what you’re good at and how your preparation, discipline and motivation keep you on track.

"As you gain more experience in your career, you understand how to prepare for any eventuality.

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"That’s what I’ve been talking about to the players in the last couple of weeks.

"When we’ve been punched on the nose in those previous three or four games, we’ve fallen to the canvas and struggled to get back up.

"We took one against Grimsby but we came back well. That’s a sign of improvement and we have to continue that trajectory day after day.”

The poor sequence of form also tested the mentality of Alexander’s squad and constituted a character examination for his players - while highlighting the importance of displaying a strong mindset.

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Alexander added: "We tried straight away after the Harrogate game to put it into perspective. Make sure everybody’s eyes were looking forward and not back.

"I think the players responded well to that with the four points.

"We don’t dwell on anything in the past. We learn from it and try and improve all the time.

"We have to focus on what we’re good at and finish the season as strong as we can.

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“In the starting team on Monday, there were six players with a total of under 30 league starts in England. That’s a good chunk of your team.

"A lot of these boys are learning what it is to play week in, week out at a competitive level trying to win games.

"We’re trying to help then find that consistency in their performances and approach. But sometimes we’ll just dip.

"I felt we did that on Monday but I’ll have to take accountability for that as well.”

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On not being too high or staying too low at these key moments, he continued: “That’s what life and football is. For us as professionals, we always want players to play with emotion but it’s got to be controlled and disciplined.

"We can’t get too high or low. If you want to be consistent, it starts in your mindset and your thoughts.

It’s about putting things in perspective and not going to the Moon and then the depths of the ocean.

"If we want to become that consistent team, it does start in our mindset.

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"The one thing I would give the players real credit for is how they’ve come back from those four games.

"It was a terrible run of results but I feel they’ve shown people they do care and can perform in good spells. We’ve just got to extend those to longer parts of the game and then game-to-game.

"That’s how we have to create this winning formula at Bradford City.

"There are a lot of boys in the matchday squad at the moment who haven’t got a wealth of hundreds of games.

"So we have to help them as much as you can to understand how you train, how you focus and prepare for a game and obviously how you take that into the heat of a contest.”

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