Craig Harrison says it’s ‘business as usual’ for The New Saints despite losing their Dafabet Welsh Premier League unbeaten record at Carmarthen Town on Saturday.
The Saints’ record run of 22 wins and a draw this season came to an end courtesy of Liam Thomas’s first-half stoppage-time winner in south Wales.
But Harrison, while disappointed and believing his side should have won, says he won’t be using the defeat as a motivational tool for the coming weeks because of the efforts shown by his players.
“It’s business as usual going into the end of season,” said Harrison. “We forgot Saturday as soon as we walked out of the dressing room.
“Nothing will change after last weekend – the lads will be back into training this week. My coaches and I had a long chat and it’ll be erased from the memory.
“After the Newtown game, I’d have been at the players but I couldn’t fault anyone on Saturday. At Newtown, I don’t think we played very well.
“All the lads yesterday did the horrible stuff so I’m not going to dwell on it or get on the players’ backs.
“The possession stats second half show how well we did, but we’re not going to use this defeat as a stick to beat the players with or even to get them going again.”
Harrison was upbeat despite his side’s chance to go unbeaten going up in smoke, and while acknowledging the difficult conditions, made no excuses for TNS’s first defeat.
TNS can still seal the title at The Venue on March 4 against Bangor City, who beat Gap Connahs Quay’s on Friday night, but require Bala Town to drop points against Carmarthen nearly 24 hours earlier.
Harrison added: “Obviously I’m disappointed – I don’t like not winning or getting beat, full stop. It was a tough, tricky and physical game but I don’t want to make any excuses.
“I thought we were the better team throughout and they scored from a set play in what seemed three minutes added on at the end of the first half. We kicked off and the ref had blown his whistle for half-time.
“The lads gave everything – they threw it all, including the kitchen sink – and created opportunities which we didn’t capitalise on.
“It was just one of those days. It’s not that we played badly or got out-fought/outplayed and one thing I can always rely on is them giving everything they have, then we’ll get opportunities.
“Getting to know my players by now, they know when I’m not happy and I tell them if they haven’t given everything, but on Saturday, they did.
“It’s tough to take – you’d rather get beat by a team that’s better than you or a team that deserved to win but I don’t think that was the case.
“But they got the three points at the end of the day and well done to them.”
Meanwhile, the potential title-winning clash with Bangor has been switched to Saturday 5.15pm to be televised on Sgorio.