Graham Kavanagh on the Colchester game
Manager Graham Kavanagh gave us his reaction to the weekend game against Colchester United shortly after full time.
“We’re obviously extremely disappointed,” he said. “I spoke to Joe Dunne at the end of the game and he felt that we didn’t deserve to lose like that. I disagreed with him because if you don’t put the ball in the net, as we didn’t, then you know you’re going to be under pressure.
“They had six chances in the whole game and they’ve come away with four goals. We created eleven chances in the first half, and eight in the second, but our problem is that we don’t put it in the back of the net. You’re always going to be vulnerable if it’s like that.”
“The manner in which we conceded our goals was extremely disappointing,” he continued. “It was schoolboy defending without any shadow of a doubt. We keep telling the players to show the ball wide but with the first goal we let the player break through our lines. He got his shot away and I’m not sure the keeper could do anything about it with it being in the corner.
“For the second goal, we’ve done loads of work with Courtney [Meppen-Walter] on screening and getting people in front of him, but he allowed the ball to get into the box. That’s a dangerous situation because you have to stay on your feet. For some reason James Berrett decided to try to play the ball across the face of goal instead of just getting it away and you can’t legislate for situations like that.
“I don’t want to criticise Courtney too much because he’s one for the future. He’s going to be an excellent player but he’s cost us quite a few goals. He’s getting an opportunity and he has to step up. He is one hundred percent trying but he’s in an environment where he’s getting judged every single week. He has to be better or, as with any player, that’s when you find yourself out of the team.”
“I thought the performance was good in terms of everything we did going forward,” he commented. “We did look like a threat but I understand that nobody will want to hear that. That fact is we just lost the game by 4-2.
“We’ve conceded before half time in two games running now. It’s not fitness, because the boys are unbelievably fit, so it must be down to concentration. We don’t seem to be able to see the game out but it’s difficult to explain why that is. We do lack quality in front of goal but there’s no way you can defend the way we did and expect to get away with it. It’s just not acceptable.
“We encouraged the lads at half time, we changed one or two things, and I thought we started the second half brightly. However, I always felt we were going to be vulnerable and I was nervous when they attacked. We dropped deeper and deeper but we’ve got players out there who are still learning their trade. They’re making mistakes and it’s costing us. I think it’s going to be that way until they start understanding how difficult it is to win games and see them out.”
“I’m really disappointed for the fans,” he said. “I took a bit of stick today and I have no problem with that. I want the fans to stay with us but we’ve had a situation where they haven’t been coming back for a number of reasons. We had a big attendance against Preston, and a fantastic following at Sunderland, and you do then think that people are buying back into it.
“All we can do is work hard to get results and performances and I thank everyone who does come. We aren’t going to get to where we want to be overnight and I know they want to be entertained. Maybe that gives people who aren’t coming a reason to stay away, because they don’t feel they’re getting that, so it is a case where we need to get as many points on the board as quickly as we can so that we know we will still be in this league.
“This is a huge test of character for everyone. We’ve been in situations like this before and we’ll have to bounce back. If I’m being honest we do need more bodies in. We’ve got young lads in key areas of the pitch and they still have a lot to learn.”
On the second half substitution, he explained: “We took Brad Potts off because he had just given away the third goal. He was running beyond the strikers and leaving a big hole in the middle of the pitch.
“He was the one who was going to be the threat but he didn’t seem to have the conviction, when he did get in, to put himself in behind the defender to make something happen. There was a lot of good honesty and energy from him but he hasn’t scored yet in his career. I thought we could move things around, and get a bit more discipline in the middle of the park, but that isn’t a criticism of him at all. He’s still learning and he’s improved no end in the last four to six weeks. He’s in the team because I believe in him. It’s a difficult one because you have to make changes to try to win games and I think, no matter what you do, you are always going to upset somebody.”
As to what he wants next, he said: “We’ve got to man up and be determined to do something about it. We have to work extremely hard again and it’s back to the drawing board, as it has been on a number of occasions already. I’m sure the fans are sick of hearing that because I’m sick of talking about it. We have to keep going and we have to keep trying to move forward. We’ve got to get to the summer, get over the line and we can then go from there."
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