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MANAGER: Wasn't good enough

14 November 2013

Manager on the Fleetwood game

Manager Graham Kavanagh spoke to us following the disappointing JPT quarter final defeat against Fleetwood on Wednesday evening. 

"It was a very poor performance from us," he admitted. "It wasn't good enough in many departments and I will take the blame for some of that. I thought I could freshen it up a little bit so I made a couple of changes. 

"I had a look at the first four games to try and see why we did as well as we did and I put it down to having no midweek games. I was conscious of how important the game was on Saturday so we changed it around from that."

"I played a 3-5-2, which clearly didn't work, and we had to change that after 25 minutes," he continued. "I'll take the responsibility but there were players who had a chance to prove something tonight. We're the league one team and they're the league two team but you would have thought it was the other way around tonight."

"We huffed and puffed without having any real quality or belief, and that is very concerning," he said. "I've known from day one that we had a fragile group but tonight has showed how fragile they really are. There's five or six of them who need to man up. We'll make no bones about it, we're three points above the relegation places and performances like that will get us relegated. 

"It's our job now to make them believe that they can perform like we know they can. Our inconsistencies are very frustrating at the moment because we've seen how they can perform in the first four or five games. There is nothing tactical about it, it's all down to intelligence and hard work, and we didn't get that tonight."

"Once we conceded the first goal we wanted to see some bravery," he said. "You've still got to want the ball and we needed to move it on with less touches. The conditions were difficult but they handled it and we didn't. 

"Their first goal was poor and there were a couple of mistakes in there. Dave Symington took a touch in the box, in what we call a red area, and their man got across him and they got the goal. That gave us a mountain to climb straight away. 

"We didn't pass the ball well enough to create chances after that. The front players couldn't get hold of the ball enough to get us up the pitch and that made it difficult for us. When you lose an early goal you have to chase the game, but we chased it without any reward tonight. 

"I thought Greg [Fleming] grew into the game and it was a difficult start for him because of the early goal. After that I thought he made some good decisions and he kicked well. His overall performance was decent. 

"I've told them that the reality is that they need to perform for four hours a week. We obviously want it every single hour they train but we only need it for four hours a week. Two hours, two days a week is not a great deal to ask." 

"That isn't to say that they aren't trying, because I think they are, but something is lacking," he added. "I don't think it's understanding of what we're trying to do because we worked on the shape on Tuesday. The way we try and move the ball is very basic. I don't know what it was but the decision making and the belief wasn't there tonight." 

"The fans were magnificent again," he insisted. "I thought they really got behind the lads. I am saying now that we're in a relegation dogfight simply because we aren't performing consistently enough. 

"The targets when we took over were focused on getting up the table rather than keeping out of the bottom four, but that is where we are now. I set a target of 1.5 points per game which would have given us 62 points at the end of the season. 

"We're still ahead of that, but only just, and we need to at least draw on Saturday to keep that on track. We're obviously going into the game looking for the win, which we're more than capable of, but we seem to keep making it more and more difficult for ourselves." 

"Matt Robson got a kick on his ankle in the first half, which swelled up, so we took him off as a precaution. I'm not sure how he'll be for Saturday yet. We'll have to have a look at it and see how it settles down over the next couple of days. 

"We are looking for a goalkeeper but we haven't got anything finalised yet. Again we're hopeful that we'll have something done before the Saturday game."

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