MATCH REACTION: McCann: “Let’s enjoy a much bigger celebration next season”

Leo Da Silva Lopes scores his second goal against Bristol Rovers. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Leo Da Silva Lopes scores his second goal against Bristol Rovers. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
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Peterborough United manager Grant McCann wants a ‘proper’ end-of-season celebration at the ABAX Stadium in 12 months time.

McCann watched his players take an appreciation lap after winning their final League One home match of the season 4-2 against Bristol Rovers today (April 22).

Marcus Maddison celebrates his goal for Posh against Bristol Rovers. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Marcus Maddison celebrates his goal for Posh against Bristol Rovers. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Goals from Leo Da Silva Lopes (2), Marcus Maddison and Craig Mackail-Smith secured a more comfortable victory than the final scoreline suggests for a Posh team who made a rare switch to a 3-5-2 formation with teenagers Da Silva Lopes and Lewis Freestone as wing-backs.

Substitute Rory Gaffney scored twice for Rovers in the final six minutes, although Luke McGee did save a penalty when the score was 1-0 to Posh in the first-half.

Posh remain 11th and are now guaranteed to finish in the top half of the table. They also have a part to play in the race for automatic promotion as they visit second-placed Bolton in their final game of the campaign on April 30. Bolton need a point to go up.

McCann, who confirmed after today’s match that forward Paul Taylor has left the club, said: “We won’t be going to Bolton just to make the numbers up. We will go there to try and win our final match,

Craig Mackail-Smith celebrates his Posh goal with Leo Da Silva Lopes (left). Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Craig Mackail-Smith celebrates his Posh goal with Leo Da Silva Lopes (left). Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

“But if Bolton do end up winning promotion I want my players to experience it at close quarters. There is no better feeling in football than receiving the applause from your fans after a successful season.

“My players enjoyed the lap they did today. It was good of the fans to stay behind and clap us off, but that was nothing to what it would be like if we finish the season with a promotion or even a place in the play-offs.

“Not many of our players have experienced a promotion, but I’ve experienced it in front of a full house with Posh and it was an incredible feeling. Our fans appreciate success and they appreciate players who put everything into achieving that success. I’ve already challenged my players to make it happen next season.

“I wanted to finish this season at home strongly and we did just that.

“I wanted to try the 3-5-2 formation at Wimbledon on Easter Monday, but Jack Baldwin wasn’t available.

“It’s a system that should suit Leo as he’s quick and he likes to forward and I was delighted that he managed to score twice in what has been a very long season for him. Playing so many games (45) will stand him in good stead. He will be a colossus for us next season. Leo’s first goal was an excellent finish.

“Both he and Lewis will need to work on their positional play a bit more if we play the system again, but we only had two days to prepare it. It probably caught the opposition off guard a little as well.

“We rode a rough patch early on, but once we scored we were the better team, although it was a shame we let a couple of sloppy goals in at the end.

“Luke’s penalty save was important. He had a difficult spell when we sent him away on holiday for a week, but he’s been outstanding since he came back.

“We have let Paul Taylor go. He’s a much-changed character and I’ve been pleased with the effort he put in this season, but he will be disappointed not to have scored the goals he is capable of at this level.

“I’m planning for next season and I’m sure he will get fixed up quickly.”