Matt Taylor uses Peterborough as exemplar of the Bristol Rovers side he wants to create

Bristol Rovers manager Matt Taylor -Credit:Tom Sandberg/PPAUK
Bristol Rovers manager Matt Taylor -Credit:Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

Matt Taylor has admitted that his Bristol Rovers side lost the physical battle in their 2-0 defeat to Peterborough United on Saturday afternoon with Posh boasting a number of the qualities that Taylor hopes to add to his squad over the summer.

The visitors boasted two-thirds of the possession in the first half which certainly is a rarity for an away side at the Mem. Rovers' intent was there but ultimately they couldn't get as close to their opponents as they would have liked with the subsequent pressure leading to the deadlock being broken four minutes before half-time as Joel Randall volleyed the ball home from close range.

The Gas' response was pleasing as they saw more of the ball and offered much more threat in and around Peterborough's penalty area with Scott Sinclair having the best chance of the half with a shot saved by Jed Steer. Ultimately though, as Rovers huffed and puffed, Posh capitalised as substitute Ricky-Jade Jones secured the three points with a shrewd flicked finish late on.

On the game itself, Taylor exclaimed: "We wanted to be as aggressive as we possibly could but there’s footballing capabilities and there’s physical capabilities and in terms of where we were on the pitch, we just couldn’t get tight enough often enough and get close enough to the play. I think that showed with their goal where we probably got them in a corner of the pitch and didn’t fully commit to it and there’s various reasons why you don’t commit to it. That’s more often because you don’t quite trust your body to come out on top or if they do, being able to get out and chase the play.

"So there’s various areas of our game that we need to improve but in terms of our out of possession play, I want us to be a pressing team, obviously pressure on the ball at the earliest moment but you’ve got to have legs to do that consistently."

Rovers were dealt a major blow just hours before kick off with it announced by the FA that striker Chris Martin had been dealt a four-game suspension for violent conduct in the first half of the Cambridge United victory which has now been confirmed as a headbutt on U's defender Mamadou Jobe.

Although Jevani Brown, who filled in for the 16-goal striker, tried to make a difference in the final third, ultimately he struggled with the forward more comfortable slightly deeper in an attacking midfield role.

How different the game may have gone had Martin been available is another story but it did seem to devoid the Gas of a true focal point up front with the 35-year-old also set to miss next weekend's final day trip to Wigan and the first two games of next season, assuming he stays on as a Rovers player.

"Possibly," the Gas manager responded when asked if having Martin would have made a difference. "It probably would have been a different game with an out and out forward on the pitch but that’s where we are at the moment. There’s nothing that we can do about that situation so credit to Jevani and then Macca to put themselves in that role and try and play it as best they could.

"But the physicality was one thing that stood out for me today. They were able to not just wriggle out but drive out of certain moments where we weren’t involved in it and all of a sudden they burst out of it. I think we’ve said all along that there’s a need for a slightly different profile or an added profile to this group. We’ve got some fantastic ball players but speed, pace and power are huge assets at this level and I think that they had both the ball players and that today which is why they’re such a good team.

"There are a lot of priorities but that’s certainly something that we’re looking at because we want a balanced squad. It feels so strange going into the last games with no recognised centre-forward and add that aspect to the balance of the squad. I think it will help us in terms of what we’re trying to recruit but then we’re trying to do that, we’re trying to get towards something. We need them in the building at the start of pre-season so that we can work with them."