Defender Byron Webster came fresh from the dressing room on Tuesday night to talk to the press about a game which brought more frustration as the away side dominated for long spells, only to suffer a 2-1 defeat.
Speaking about the reason why the Cumbrians didn’t get the victory their second half display deserved, he said: “It’s individual mistakes - obviously myself for the second goal - which are disappointing, but the positive thing is that it is individual errors and we know that when we rectify that no one is cutting us up.
“We’re our own downfall in a way, which is just so frustrating. Even when we were down to 10 men, we were still creating chances.
“We know what we need to do, the games are coming thick and fast and we have a style of play we’re playing, the manager is implementing it and he’s demanding a lot from us, and we’re demanding a lot from each other.
“It’s only going to be good and it is going to change - it’s definitely going to change. As a defensive unit we’re not giving too many chances away, but the chances we are, they’re becoming goals.
“The only stat that ever matters is what the score is, but if you look at what’s happening, teams are getting two or three shots on target and they’re scoring two goals. That has to change.”
“I think you can see there is no confidence issue,” he insisted. “You can tell that by the way we’re playing and, once we rectify those individual mistakes, we’ll be fine.
“I’ve seen a lot of this from past clubs I’ve been at, especially Yeovil, this group is so close and the way we play, we keep the ball, which is a style we all like. It might be frustrating sometimes for the fans, and I understand that, but it’s because we’re doing things a certain way and it will bring us results.
“What I will say is that the fans travel in their numbers, all over, and I’m so surprised in a way that they’ve even come all the way here on a Tuesday night. It’s crazy, crazy!
“So instead of lumping the ball we’re trying to give them nice football, and we’re going to get it wrong from time to time, but you can see from the end of that game that we don’t stop.
“The manager wouldn’t let us stop, to start off with, and we’re in this together. That includes the fans, and I think all supporters, at any club – if you’re putting the graft in, you’re fine. If you’re not working hard they’re going to tell you.
“They’re going to tell you when you make a mistake, and I don’t think anybody has a problem with that. But if you’re not working hard, they’re going to nail you. I think, down to a man, no fan can question any of us for the way we graft.”
“Them travelling to Rochdale on a Tuesday night, it’s unbelievable, and it was the same when they came to Cheltenham,” he continued. “Even when we played Ross County in the friendly I was saying to the boys - what are they doing - because it was a hell of a journey. We have it nice when we’re in a hotel, but they have to come on the day of the game and when we’ve got them behind us it’s brilliant.
“There are a number of things you play football for, and you need to find what it is, be it family, money, kids, fans, whatever it is. Within that dressing room, everybody has something they want to play for and we all want positive results, I can tell you that as a fact.”
When asked how the good performances can be turned into wins, he said: “It’s as simple as cutting the individual mistakes out, I honestly believe that. If we can get a few refereeing decisions going our way ... but we need to try and take it out of the referee’s hands.
“We need to make teams play to our strengths. If we get a goal up then teams have to come out and attack us, and that’s when we cut them up. The problem is that teams are giving us a bit of respect, you saw Mansfield who came and got so many men behind the ball and it was sucker punches that got us.
“That tells you that people know we’re playing well. We might not be getting the results, but they know we’re playing well. One of the really frustrating things is that you can see the attacking threat we have, but we’re conceding these silly, stupid goals.
“As a defensive unit, and that’s not just the back four, it’s the midfield lads as well – the likes of Jona sitting in front of us – we’re working so hard to make sure we don’t give up many chances.
“People are holding their hands up when errors happen, but that doesn’t make any difference. I’ll take it on the chin for this one, I’ve messed up, and if I don’t do that it’s a 1-1 draw and the end result could be different.
“It’s these little fine margins which aren’t going for us yet, but it has to change sooner or later, because there’s only so long we can say that it’s mistakes or decisions not going our way, we have to make sure they go our way.”
Having mentioned the header which eventually sent Matthew Done through to score Rochdale’s second goal, he told us: “I was trying to be too clever for my own good and it’s just massively frustrating when it happens.
“Nine times out of ten I just nut it away, but it’s just slack from me, it really is. You’ve asked about confidence, so is that over-confidence?
“We have a style we want to play, we want to try to get it down, but I and we need to remember that we’re defenders. Sometimes that means you just need to smash it away. That reminds me that it doesn’t matter how old I am, I’m still learning.
“I played at a club, Millwall, where they told you if you messed up, and I know they’ll tell me at Carlisle as well. It’s now about me showing the supporters who I am. I can guarantee the fans that I’ll make more points for us than I cost.”
The away side were incensed late in the game when a McKirdy cross appeared to strike the raised arm of Jimmy Keohane, only for the referee and the linesman to turn away from the vociferous penalty appeals.
“Referee’s take some stick, they really do, and I’m the worst for it out on the pitch,” he said. “But the rules are so vague, they don’t know whether they’re coming or going. No one knows the rules, so it’s nearly impossible for them to get it right.
“The manager was talking to us about it and handball is meant to be when the arm is in an unnatural position but, like I say, referees make mistakes, players make mistakes, VAR makes mistakes, and it’s what we all live by.
“It’s part of the game, one of those things, and I’ve always been one of those who doesn’t want to see VAR. There shouldn’t be any talking about decisions because it should be clear cut. There’s no fun if that side goes out of it. We’re talking now about a decision that’s gone against us, but throughout the season hopefully they’ll equal themselves out.”
United are away again this weekend, with the hop over to north Lincolnshire and a return to Glanford Park for the first time since February 2013.
And for the big centre back, who spent the second half of last season with the Iron, he commented: “I’m sure I’ll get a great reception, it’ll be fantastic,
“It’ll be good because it’s another game in a run that’s had games coming thick and fast, and we all enjoy that. My dad has told me that their fans never boo a bad player, so hopefully I’ll get a bit of stick and we’ll get three points, then happy days!
“Scunthorpe are coming off a run of results where you can see they’ve shut up shop a little bit and they’re now losing by just the odd goal. Again, these are the fine margins we’re dealing in.
“You get the early goal at this level and teams sit back and counter-attack, and it’s like a game of chess at the minute for everyone. It won’t be easy, but we all know what we want from it.
“We did a thing before the season started [with the manager] which asked us how many points we wanted to get and what targets we had, and things like that.
“The target is to win every game. If you go into a game thinking we’ll draw this one, we can lose this one – no, you can’t play that way. You have to go into every game to win it, there can’t be any other mindset.”
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