City man says team know they need to improve
Following a disappointing home defeat to Southend United, Scot Bennett said that the squad have acknowledged a need for improved performances and results to stop the rot, and to get their League 2 season back on track.
After a bright opening to the season and a good run of results, City haven’t registered any points in the last three league games and Bennett said that the players have had frank discussions to try to put things right for future weeks.
“Enough of us know we’re not playing up to the standard that we know we can,” he explained. “A few words have been said in the changing room – it’s a bit private in there, but we’ve given ourselves the kick up the backside that we need.
“Hopefully can go onto next week and have a good week in training and push on at Rochdale and get three points, as we’re in a state where we need them.
“We had a spell this time last year when we went through a spell of five or six games when we couldn’t get the win and there was frustration. We didn’t say anything back then so the lads have said some things in the changing room here because they want to make sure it doesn’t happen again and we want to move on and get the points that we need.
“I think we’ve got to look at ourselves – we’ve had a chat in the changing room, and it’s not been quite good enough in the last three or four games.”
City had looked lively during the opening exchanges, but Cauley Woodrow’s opening goal as he nipped between the defenders to divert in a cross was an early turning point and settled Southend into the game. Kevan Hurst netted the other before the interval.
“For the first few minutes we started really well and we were playing the ball around and playing the football we wanted to play, but it seemed to just change,” he continued. “We weren’t close enough to the Southend lads and they seemed to find a lot more time on the ball, and they were pressing us really high.
“We just didn’t seem to have any answers for it. Then they got a goal which really should never have happened – it was lacklustre play from us and they broke and scored.
“The first goal was avoidable – the ball came in early, but we needed to get closer to stop the cross and there was one striker between two or three of us at the back, so we can’t be allowing him to score that goal.”
With the younger players chomping at the bit to get involved in first-team action, opportunities may begin to arise for some of those that have been on the periphery.
The Grecians’ under-21 team are in action against their Southampton counterparts on Wednesday evening at St James Park and Bennett feels that the youngsters – including the likes of Matt Jay, who made his first senior start for Exeter City against Southend – will push the more experienced players for places.
“Tis has shown that if you’re performing well for the reserves, under-21s or youth games like Matty Jay, you’re going to get a chance,” said Bennett. “With Wednesday night’s game coming up, if the boys perform well then they’ve got a shot of coming in because of the form we’re in at the minute.
“We’ve got a lot of good players in there – we’ve got Jake Gosling who is always on it and Jamie Reid is coming back from injury, so we’ve got a lot of youngsters that can come in and play.”