Tis: “We have to toughen up”

City manager gives response to Burton defeat

Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale was left unsatisfied by the response that his team gave to a derby day defeat when they met Burton Albion on Tuesday.

The Grecians were downed 1-0 by Burton thanks to a Stuart Beavon volley, and while the City manager felt the performance had many more positives than the Plymouth Argyle defeat, the performance still left room for improvement in the eyes of the Grecians manager.  The result was no different to the weekend's game – a second loss in four days.

Tis had asked his players to show a response to the Home Park performance, and he felt that the performance, while moving in the right direction, still felt short of what was needed to get something from the Pirelli Stadium.

Brewers stopper Jon McLaughlin had a quieter evening than City custodian Christy Pym, and Paul is expectant that his team should pose more questions to opposition defences soon.

“I’d like to have had more,” said Paul.  “Saturday was a hard defeat to take, and I asked for a response from the players.  It’s old-fashioned but it’s the right thing to think about.

“We needed to respond to a clear defeat on Saturday.  I asked for a hard start to the game and I wanted them to play forward and be tough and tackle, and we didn’t do it.

“We had a very fair performance in the second half but we were a goal down and chasing the game, and it’s too late.

“It’s the first couple of weeks of the season, but we’re going to have to toughen up and become more clear with our play.  We didn’t challenge their back four enough – the one thing I asked them to do was to put pressure on their back-four and we didn’t.

“I’m asking them to challenge the opposition’s defence a little bit more, and they were too long getting to that point.

“We needed to be a goal down for that to change, which is not what it needs to be.”

The Burton fixture, in many ways, had been the forgotten match in many supporters’ minds after the focus had been all about Portsmouth and Plymouth in League 2, bookending a Capital One Cup tie with AFC Bournemouth.

However last year’s play-off finalists were always likely to be a tough nut to crack and Paul is hoping that his young team will take to their learning curve quickly, with another challenging fixture on the horizon against York City this weekend.

“We’re not happy to have got one point from three games, yet we’ve had three very difficult games with a squad on its knees already,” said Tis.

“We have to get the balance right – we have to find ways of improving it, yet I don’t want to batter the players’ confidence.  We have to continue as we are and I’m sure we’ll make improvements.”