United boss Chris Beech gave us his reaction to the Tuesday night away defeat at Colchester shortly after the full time whistle had blown.
“We’ve got beat, football is football,” he said. “I’m amazed we don’t get the opportunity to take a penalty at 1-0 to make it 2-0. Then the keeper pulls out a great save from Joe Riley when the ball tips onto the post.
“We had good opportunities that we struck well – great to see Brennan striking the ball clean, the keeper answered those questions, so well done to him. We’re again in a position of control, we’re winning games, but we’re not winning them.
“We have to deal with that and deal with that part of it better. But it’s become a problem.”
Looking completely in control of their own destiny with over an hour played, he talked about the ‘wobble in confidence’ which has dogged otherwise good performances over the past few weeks.
“It’s happening, we need to stop it, but you can’t make 10 changes,” he commented. “You can make five in one go, but it can destabilise things even further while you’re wobbling, or it can reinvigorate it too.
“If anything, and I’ve spoken to the players about this as a group, you have to support the eleven that are playing and to the substitutes - take it up when you come on for different reasons, to see our games out, get us back in games, make a game better for us.
“That’s what we’ve got to continue doing as a group, for people to support each other, and in a 12-round boxing match, the first six were very good, seven, eight and nine we’re on our back foot, we’ve had one in the chops, the lads are struggling to wobble them cheeks and get back to doing simple things.
“If they do that we win this one, we win on Saturday, we win on Tuesday, we would have won the Saturday before. It’s just where it is at the moment.”
And on how it feels for the group to have had a run of games where they’ve looked comfortable, only to come out with nothing to show for it, he added: “It becomes an edge, doesn’t it. I have no doubt we have a chance as athletes to try and control that, but we have to understand how we feel within that and reset at that point.
“But it’s very disappointing not to win a game of football when you’ve been in control. We were on Saturday and we were again tonight.
“But I don’t want to be a broken record. We got beat because we weren’t good enough to win. We should be. We showed massive elements of being good enough to win that game.”
So has an anxiety crept in when the one-goal advantage hasn’t been turned into two or three?
“If you’re honest, like I am, I like us to be ascendant and try to score, like we are, and it is disappointing to see a lack of control at that point,” he said. “But there’s not a lack of effort. You can see Nick flying into tackles, JJ’s running round, with real belief and hunger.
“Brennan Dickenson, great to see him shooting like that, but we haven’t won and we need to see that out. Often the older players are the players that can help you do that. Tonight the one who’s got the most experience is the game-changer, but he’s not done it on purpose.
“I just wish we’d been able to see the one we’ve gained and be allowed to take the penalty. I haven’t got a lot of money, otherwise I’d cane the referees, but I’m not going to do that because I can’t pay the fine. The penalty, to be given on Saturday, and one in this game to be gained and not be given … it’s just another frustration.
“We’re giving too many penalties away and we don’t get enough. When we earn them we don’t seem to be given them. JJ against Doncaster had one overruled and he got booked for that. It happens.
“But we’re not on the right side of the line of that at the moment. That is what it is and we have to accept we’ve been beaten. I could talk all night about the ifs, buts and maybes, the bottom line is we lost.”
And the games seem to have flipped in circumstances that could have been avoided, leading to a resurgence from opposition that was otherwise out of the game.
“The break in play in the last two games has been a penalty against us, around a similar time of the game,” he said. “That’s just like, unlucky, or the way it is. But we can definitely stop the ball being in that area.
“The one on Saturday, nobody’s even trying to head the ball and the ref gives a penalty. The one tonight is so unlucky, because it was a poor cross that actually goes to Dean, and the touch comes out, and he just jumps in front of him.
“Are you telling me Dean can push him over? I very much doubt it, but he’s been clever and got a penalty. It’s breaking the ice of our resolve.
“Our resolve’s hurting at the moment and it’s being broken too easy when we should win the game. We need to maintain the resolve that sees us going in front and dominating.
“When we’re looking for explanations, you could say ‘I don’t know’ means that you’re not in control, but we are. We go ahead, fight hard, do well, do good things, and that’s in every game. It’s difficult.
“We’ve been put in extreme circumstances, and we showed what we were to go where we went before we were put into those extreme circumstances. But if I mention them it would be classed as an excuse.
“It’s knocked us off. The players are getting back to higher numbers on the pitch, more sprints, more distance. I’m sure they will have run harder tonight than they did the other day, looking at the game to the eye, but we didn’t win it, and that’s what we’re judged on.”
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