Richie Wellens hails Salford’s winning attitude after edging past Hartlepool
Salford survived an FA Cup scare to score twice in extra time and beat non-league Hartlepool 2-0 in the first match of under new boss Richie Wellens.
The Ammies struck at the end of each period in extra-time through substitutes Bruno Andrade, who tapped in from Ian Henderson’s pass, and Emmanuel Dieseruvwe, who finished off a counter-attack in the final seconds, to send Salford through to the second round.
The win came at the end of a first week in charge of the team for Wellens after a temporary spell as boss from Paul Scholes.
“I think first half we were pretty good at times,” said a relieved Wellens.
“We had complete control of the game, but then in the second half we weren’t great. We gave the ball away far too many times.
“But the biggest thing that I am pleased with today is that we showed a winning attitude, especially in the last five minutes putting their bodies on the line.
“It has been a really tough few days for me as you can tell by my voice. It’s gone, and so am I emotionally, I’m drained.
“But it is a good start and I’ve spent the past few days just waffling on so I hope I get a day off to go through the video with a clear head.
“We had some good chances in the game but they could have scored as well on the break. We had a lot of possession and played slow, slow but lacked the quality going quick.
“I thought Di’Shon Bernard was excellent on his first league start, he was outstanding.”
Wellens praised the impact of the substitutes who changed the game.
“The big thing when a new manager comes in is attitude of players and it was really good. They are a good group and I will start to demand more of them,” he added.
“To see Andrade and Mani, who haven’t been involved much in recent weeks, come on and change the game, I’m really pleased with.
“Warren (assistant boss Warren Joyce) has changed the phrase to starters and finishers rather than starters and subs. They came on and won us the game.
“Warren made the decisive subs as he knows the players that little bit better than me. So credit to Warren who has been a pleasure to work with and probably is more passionate about football then me, which is pretty hard.”
Paul Scholes had taken temporary charge of the club after the sacking of Graham Alexander, but the Manchester United great was back in the the stands alongside co-owners Gary Neville and Nicky Butt, plus Roy Keane as Salford started life under Wellens.
Wellens said: “I saw Scholes after the Cambridge game and he said ‘Right there you go, you have it now’. It’s a difficult job isn’t it?
“People don’t realise how difficult it is to be a football manager. It is time consuming and eats away at you.”
Hartlepool boss Dave Challinor felt his side produced a decent display but fell just short.
“I’m really happy and proud of our performance but obviously unhappy with the result,” he said.
“I wanted to see an improvement from last week and we have worked hard all week on a game plan.
“It probably took us 20 minutes or so to get a grip of what we were doing but we had chances.
“We were comfortable I felt, and then in the second half players got belief, and in that moment you have to score, and we didn’t.
“That is the difference between winning and losing football matches, especially when you come away to a Football League team who are highly fancied to go up through the leagues.
“We frustrated them and forced them into mistakes, so if we can get in front it could have made them slightly more desperate.
“I cannot ask any more of them and physically I thought we looked really strong, they did everything I asked but just didn’t get the result so I can deal with that.
“Salford have good players with the movement of (James) Wilson, (Ian) Henderson and (George) Boyd, they are clever. We talked about blocking passing lanes and we did that really well.”