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'We needed to start well and quell any kind of euphoria, and we did that'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 15, 2012

Edgar Davids (centre) savours the Underhill experience on Saturday

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The media were out in force at Underhill on Saturday, after the appointment of Edgar Davids as the joint head coach of Barnet, but Plymouth Argyle's easy 4-1 win over the Bees showed the former Juventus, Barcelona and Tottenham midfielder just what a task he has taken on.

Barnet, bottom of npower League Two and without a win all season, announced the appointment of Davids – who lives in north London – late on Thursday.

With no Barclays Premier League games because of the international break for World Cup qualifiers, his presence attracted a larger than usual attendance at Underhill.

There were reporters from national newspapers, radio and television stations, and the Dutchman was at the centre of attention.

After the game, Argyle manager Carl Fletcher was asked whether he had feared the "Davids factor" – had he been worried Barnet's players would be lifted by the appointment of the 39-year-old former Netherlands international?

Fletcher replied: "We have had it the last couple of games, with Wycombe and Wimbledon both changing their managers. The players have a little bit more energy, so we were fully aware of it. I think it must have put a few more people on the gate, definitely.

"It was a case of making sure we quietened the game down, especially early on. Our two early goals helped that."

Argyle opened the scoring inside two minutes with a penalty from Rhys Griffiths, and Maxime Blanchard headed them into a 2-0 lead soon afterwards. Griffiths said: "We knew, with Davids here, they were going to start fast and would probably be a bit buoyant. We needed to start well and quell any kind of euphoria they had, and we did that.

"We started so sharp, especially the wide players. When you are bottom of the league, it hurts when you are 2-0 down after 15 minutes."

Fletcher thought a tactical switch at half-time reaped its rewards. The Bees' former Dutch international striker Collins John hobbled out of the action in the 16th minute and was replaced by John Oster, a former team-mate of the Argyle manager at Crystal Palace and with Wales.

Barnet immediately reduced the 2-0 deficit and, with Oster dictating the play from a deep midfield role, they started to trouble the Pilgrims.

Fletcher responded by substituting striker Guy Madjo at half-time and sending on Andres Gurrieri. The Argentinian played behind Rhys Griffiths in a 4-4-1-1 formation, and stopped Oster getting on the ball and was also involved in plenty of positive play.

Fletcher said: "We had to change it at half-time and brought Andres on just to sit on top of John Oster.

"I played with John and I know what quality he has got. He was starting to show that in the first half. We just had to cancel that out, and we did. It wasn't down to the way Guy played. It was just tactical.

"I'm really pleased," the Argyle boss added. "It's great to score four goals away from home. Apart from probably a 15 to 20-minute period towards the end of the first half, I felt we were fully in control."

Argyle have been drawn at home to Oxford United in the last 16 of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. The southern section quarter-final will take place at Home Park during the week commencing December 3.

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