Devastated at the lack of effort and commitment

Manager’s view

I’M devastated to be honest.

I was actually quite confident going into the game and I couldn’t believe it. There was a lack of effort, commitment and everything that we had talked about.

We had asked the players to do simple things like marking a man and they’re not doing it. That has nothing to do with ability, it’s to do with wanting to do it.

All we asked the players before the game was to match Ballymena for effort, work-rate and commitment and the truth of the matter is that they wanted it more than us and worked harder than us.

Sometimes when you’re playing a better team you might be a bit more cautious but I was confident that our 11 players on the pitch were as good as or better than Ballymena in terms of personnel and ability. We’ve asked them to go man to man and win their individual battles but it didn’t happen.

I wasn’t asking the wingers to get back to help the full-back or anything. I just wanted our wingers to beat their full-backs, our full-backs to stop them getting balls into the box, I asked John (Convery) to mark Gary McCutcheon and Jay (Magee) to mark James Costello. Everybody was given a simple job but they weren’t carried out and I can’t explain why.

All you can do is ask the players to do a job and give them the right directions and information on their opponents. Unfortunately the instructions we gave on Saturday weren’t carried out on the pitch.

I’m not going to make any excuses because it could have been five or six on Saturday. The first goal took a wicked deflection and for the second, Davy O’Hare, Jay Magee and John Convery said it wasn’t a penalty but at the end of the day it wouldn’t have mattered anyway because they had more than enough chances to win the game.

It’s a relegation battle we’re in and you can’t just flick a switch and get out of it. You have to fight in every game and not just turn it on and off whenever we feel like it.

If we’re going to do that, we’ll find ourselves in a difficult situation.

It does boil down to the players on the pitch at some stage as well and I’m a player too so I take that responsibility as well. You can work on tactics, team-play, do your team-talk, select your team and everything else but whenever they cross the line, you can’t show somebody how to work hard or put the effort in; that all comes from within themselves and they need to start doing it more often.