We spoke to Saturday's team captain Anthony Gerrard shortly after full time at Moss Rose following the disappointing defeat against Macclesfield.
“It was embarrassing really,” he admitted. “To be the first team that Macclesfield have beaten is always going to be a bitter pill to swallow. If we had come away with the three points after we’d scored that first goal I think the police would have been investigating a robbery, because we just didn’t turn up.
“There wasn’t enough urgency, commitment, drive, or a willingness to do what’s right for the team and throw your body in. Sean Dyche has got an unbelievable quote, ‘the minimum requirement is maximum effort’, it’s basic and should be a given, but not enough people did that today.
“We’ve just been talking through it there, but football isn’t like it used to be, you can’t go into the dressing room and give other lads a real dressing down. Those days are gone, you can’t do that because as we’ve shown, we’ve got a few weak-minded players in there. I don’t think it’s unfair for me to say that, if you give people a bit of a rollicking they take it the wrong way and take it personally.
“It’s all professional, everyone gets constructive criticism in every walk of life, so why can’t people accept it on a football pitch? I’ve had dressings down off senior pros when I was 18 or 19, when that dressing down was no where near like what it would be nowadays. You’ve got to take it like a man, but there aren’t enough people to accept that now, and accept responsibility for how they’ve performed."
“We sat deep as a team and invited them to come onto us," he explained. "People will talk about us as a back four, but how can the back four get up when there’s no pressure on the ball higher up the pitch? How can the back four get up when the ball isn’t staying up front, which gives us that extra few seconds to push up? How can the back four get up the pitch when we can’t string three passes together?
"Those are the facts, but no one sees how the game pans out, they just see the score line and think the back four must have had a bad game. The back four did relatively well, even though we gave a few chances away, which is always going to happen. It’s just a crazy league."
“Any professional worth their salt doesn’t accept a performance like that, collectively or individually," he continued. "It’s not acceptable when you’re playing for Carlisle, it’s not acceptable when you’re a professional footballer. No disrespect to Macclesfield, but they were a conference team last year and they hadn’t won a game all season. From the form we’ve shown this season we should be seeing teams like this off.
"I’m not putting Macclesfield down in any way, I’m talking about us. If you don’t commit and do the things that have got you into this position in the first place, then teams will come and beat you. We saw that last week against Morecambe and also today, it just isn’t acceptable.
“People want to talk about the injuries, but we’ve all got full confidence in the other lads who have come into the team. We won’t use injuries as an excuse, because anyone who goes on the pitch has got to give their maximum effort, application and attitude, and I don’t think enough players did that today. That’s got nothing to do with talent, delivery, know how or experience, that’s just about having some balls and some spirit."
“We know Lincoln will be another tough game because that isn’t an easy place to go," he concluded. "They’re top of the league and they’ve been picking a lot of points up.
"It’s down to us to show people what we’ve got. We might go there and not get the result, which is football, but it’s down to us to go there and make sure they work for any result they might get, and we don’t roll over. We’ve got to show desire and commitment.”
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