After last Tuesday (2-1 defeat at Port Vale), you’d have wanted a better outcome tonight
Yes. We went 1-0 up and that’s the third time this year that’s happened, going ahead and losing the game to a set play. They were there to be beaten today, the way they set up. They wanted to try and hit us on the counter and I think we’ve had about 70 per cent of possession. We wasted 45 minutes and we’ve given two really poor goals away. I sound like a broken record at the minute. We need to do more than that to try and win a game of football.
Did you think having got your noses in front, the lesson from last week would have been fresh in the players’ minds?
It wasn’t just last week, it’s happened all season. We went 1-0 up against Forest Green and had a wobbly five minutes. It’s something that needs to be addressed because you can’t give teams a leg up. We worked really hard because they banked in and it is difficult and we proved that on Saturday. You get your goal ahead, then see the game out. They have to change the way they play then and they can’t keep letting us have the ball. Or we just keep the ball for the sake of it. But you give them an opportunity in the first five minutes of scoring and we wasted the first 45 minutes of the game.
Josh Griffiths did well to make that save within the first 10 seconds to make that save because his concentration need to be switched on at that stage
Yes, he was the only one who was concentrating at that point. Again, it’s not me being harsh on the players – they need to be better. Players need to be better than that and there are better players out there than what they are showing. The inconsistency is frustrating. It’s difficult because the games are coming thick and fast, but we need to perform better than that to win a game.
Did you think that there might be one good chance that would fall your way and the Andy Williams one blocked on the line was that key chance?
Both boxes and I said it last week. Goalmouth scramble and we hit the lad on the line, goalmouth scramble and they score – that’s the difference in the game. You need to be clinical.
You have the FA Cup next against South Shields. How much of an unknown quantity are they, or will they be for you?
They are now, but they won’t be. We have a couple of games that will get watched. Micky (Moore) was at their game tonight, so we’ll have a few games to get as much information as we can. By all accounts they are a good side, who are full-time so they will have better players than their level says. I’ll be expecting a reaction after that, as I was after last Tuesday.
You got that reaction Saturday and you’d hope that would carry on tonight. Do you have any clue at the minute why it didn’t?
Saturday was never going to be a problem, getting them up for the game because of who it was. We need to be more ruthless in both boxes. Against Morecambe at home we should have been out of sight, same thing at Port Vale last week, same here today, go 1-0 up and kill the next five minutes and then they have to change the way they play and then see what they do. But we didn’t do it and if you don’t do it, you get punished in this league.
All four defeats so far, how much has it been missed opportunities because you haven’t really been outplayed comprehensively in any of them?
No, we were 1-0 up in three of them and conceded a set play goal in each. The other one (Grimsby) was a bit of a random game in terms of things going against us. I can accept that one because you get days like that. But you can’t waste 45 minutes of football. It’s frustrating, more than anything.
You were very difficult to beat last season with only six defeats in 36. You have already lost four, but is the key not drawing too many?
Yes, you’d prefer to win one, lose one than draw two because of the points tally, obviously. People will talk about unbeaten runs and things like that, but last year there were two months when we drew almost every game and it ultimately probably cost us getting promoted. It’s more the manner of the defeats at the minute, which is the frustration. It’s not that we’ve been awful, but we are giving up cheap chances. Nobody is really opening us up, but we are giving up poor goals and not taking big chances in games, so it can’t keep happening.
Have you said much yet to the players?
No, I’ve not spoken to them because I’ll end up saying something I don’t mean, or I don’t want to say. I have literally just said, ‘let’s get on the bus’ and we’ll pick the bones out of it. We can’t change anything now so all you can do is probably make it worse. They are not stupid and I said on Saturday, it’s not good when you’re good and not when you’re not. They are a good, honest set of lads and they’ll know they weren’t up to it today. So it’s up to us to pick a team on Saturday not only for a reaction, but one that goes and wins the games, ultimately.
Is it a different kind of problem-solving now, having come to Oldham early in your reign and been all over the place. Now you have a lot of things right, but is it more mental?
The best teams, go and ask Man City or Liverpool – and I am not comparing us to them by the way – but go and ask them because every team they play against will have a plan and will try to bank in and do things like that. I think teams recognise we are an all right team, but being an all right team doesn’t mean you will do anything. Recognising the challenge, you have to find a way of winning a game. You can’t be giving up poor goals and the corner isn’t good enough and then we’ve conceded a goal from a corner, after a scramble. We have one and hit the lad on the line. Against Mansfield we hit the lad on the line. Key moments in games at the minute we are not quite falling the right side of. On Saturday we did, even then there were big chances missed. That’s not aimed at any individual, it’s us as a group because it’s different people missing big chances.
Do you think you might have any players back for Saturday?
Lloydy (George Lloyd) can’t be involved until next Tuesday, so I don’t think we’ll have anyone back.