Grecians managers calling on players to grasp the nettle
Paul Tisdale was in a reflective mood after the Grecians’ 2-0 home defeat to Southend United, with the suggestion that a few cages need rattling to get Exeter back to winning ways.
City are still only five points away from the summit in what is shaping up to be a tight League 2 season, but the performance against the Shrimpers left a lot to be desired and ultimately resulted in a third consecutive league defeat.
Ultimately Tis is looking for the individuals amongst the squad to stand up and be counted and to play on instinct, and chiefly to put in the kinds of shifts in that they are capable of in order to get City back on the points-trail.
“They’re all good chaps, I want them all to do well and I believe in all of them,” said Tis. “But as a group we have to do better. The contribution as a group whether we’re attacking, thinking, running, you name it – we’ve got to have an even spread so we’ve got players doing the same thing at the same time.
“We’ve become disconnected as a group and that’s my job, and they have to respond and I’m pretty sure they will respond. We have to go through these moments every now and then and this is one of them.
“They are responsible for their performances and they need to do what they say they are going to do, or what they profess to be. If they are a defender, a midfield player, an attacker, a wide player – you name it, their skill-set suggests that that is what they are paid to do, and they need to do it.
“Be what you are and be what you say you’re going to be. If you’re selected on the pitch to play a role, play it – regardless of systems and opposition. Maybe it’s all a bit too considered and they need to get stuck into it a bit more.”
Things began looking brighter for City with half an hour to go, and chances were being forged in the latter stages. However Shrimpers stopper Daniel Bentley did manage to answer any questions that were posed to him, and with the visitors sitting on a two-goal cushion, they could afford to absorb pressure.
“I wanted us to play a lot better than we did in the first half, because we were dreadful,” continued the City manager. “Then we were two-nil down – I wouldn’t have expected us to start the game like we played in the second half because it’s not really possible.
“The players had a go in the second half, but that’s not what you want to be doing every week; letting it go in the first half and having to see what we can do in the second half – that’s really not going to get us very far.
“It was totally unacceptable and I think we’re at a point where we’ve just lost three league games in succession and my thoughts are on an assessment of how we’re playing and how the players are performing individually.”
The City boss suggested that players in his squad won’t be able to take their positions for granted, and that it will be those that are on good form – regardless of their levels of experience – that will be the ones handed chances.
Exeter’s under-21s will be facing Southampton in the Under-21 Premier League Cup on Wednesday evening and Tis is keeping a close eye on that group of players to see who might merit a place when the Grecians get back to first-team action next weekend against Rochdale.
He continued: “I’ve been very good with the players; I’ve been very respectful and I’ve kept a core of the group that have played whatever, and have played more or less every game they have been fit; they’ve had a good run at it, and they’ve come off it.
“I’m accountable for the run and that’s my job, but they are responsible for their individual display within it and they needed intensity and aggression and determination and all the things you would expect of a good performance. I think we’ve just come off it.
“I’m not cross with them, I’ve just been very honest with them. My job now is to step away from the group for two or three days and decide what we’re going to do.
“We can’t go making signings – that’s not going to happen – but we’ve got players making strides within the squad and we need to look at those, and we’ve got another game on Wednesday night in the Under-21 Premier League Cup and there are lots of players that are shining well in that and I’ll be looking at them closely.”