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Castleford Tigers: Craig Lingard hopeful despite Catalans loss, admits one area is 'killing' chances

Castleford coach Craig Lingard felt his decision to rest several underperforming players paid off despite the Tigers losing 40-14 at Catalans Dragons.

Lingard’s side can kick-start their season after a brave but beaten performance in Perpignan and they were good value at Stade Brutus.

He said: “It doesn’t look pretty on the scoreboard but I’m happy with how we performed, it’s the kind of performance that can galvanise the playing group and maybe kick-start the season.

“We’ve got some good players, they just needed to get into the grind and we did that tonight, we dug deep and I think we can start to move forwards from here.

“We were at a real low ebb after last week against Huddersfield and we felt that that performance didn’t represent all of the work that we had done in pre-season, it wasn’t what we were about.

“Tonight was more like it, although the scoreline doesn’t look that way. We scrambled really hard and stuck in the game in the opening minutes which I was really proud of and we managed to score a try just before half-time then had a brain explosion with the kick-off.

“It’s these little things I’ve just spoken to the players about. We can pat ourselves on the back with our effort and application but the number of times we have made errors this season from kick-offs or in the next set after scoring a try is killing us.

“We need to concentrate and learn from those parts of the game and we learned an awful lot tonight.”

Lingard had been critical of the efforts of some senior players during the Huddersfield defeat but he played down any suggestions of disharmony in the Tigers squad.

He added: “Everybody at the club is on board with what we are trying to do.

“There’s no immediate fix here at Castleford, we haven’t got the money that some other clubs have. We just have to concentrate this year on securing our Super League status off the field.

“There’s no point us chucking money at the squad and then finding out at the end of the season that our off-pitch activities have put us down into the championship.

“It’s frustrating as a coach because you want to bring players in but we have to understand the situation with IMG that promotion and relegation are not solely based on on-field performance.

“Once we secure Super League status, the plans is to bring in those players that can make us successful on the pitch.”

Catalans coach Steve McNamara was happy with the scoreline but not overjoyed with his side’s performance.

He said: “I thought we just did enough tonight, just. It’s probably the first time this season that we weren’t consistent throughout the game.

“We had spells where we looked OK, then we dropped off, whereas in our other games we put our attack and defence together effectively.

“Tonight didn’t really reflect us, but a win’s a win and well done to Castleford for fighting hard.

“For the first time this season we looked a bit vulnerable in defence and it started right from the kick-off.

“We’ve been working on our attack and we were making progress but it was a slight step back tonight.

“We weren’t quite in sync but that’s the whole team.

“There’s a lot of improvement in us and we weren’t quite there tonight for whatever reason.

“We’ll have three days rest and prepare for the cup game at Halifax. We need to freshen up after the first five games because it’s going to be a tough game.”

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