Grecians manager admits performance was a cause for concernFresh from a 2-1 home defeat to Mansfield Town, Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale admitted that the level of performance against the Stags gave him more concerns than the standing in the league presently.
City took a two-goal deficit into half-time – and despite looking more threatening in the second period, they couldn’t complete the fight-back and ultimately were left empty-handed.
It represented a fourth defeat from the opening six league games, leaving the Grecians propping up the Football League table in the early stages of the season. With 40 games remaining, there will undoubtedly be twists and turns ahead for every team.
So while Paul admitted that the place in the table made for uncomfortable viewing, the fact that Exeter had put in an under-par showing in the first period – and been punished for it – was more disquieting.
“I’m disappointed with the result but I’m more disappointed with the way we played in the first half and the way we started the game,” said Paul.
“We’ve certainly got some concerns about where we sit in the table, but the bigger concern is how we can produce a better performance than we did in the first half today because that was substandard.
“But I am concerned about where we are in the league – of course I am.
“Ultimately we played very poorly in the first half, and I’ve got to do some thinking because that was nowhere near good enough.
“There was no lack of effort or enthusiasm, but it was the decision-making and the processes that they went through that were poor.”
First goals for Mansfield for debutant Rakish Bingham and Fergus Bell put the Stags firmly into the ascendancy. Exeter looked a totally different prospect after the break though and Matt Grimes’ well-taken free-kick got the Grecians back within a goal.
But for all the huffing and puffing, the Stags were able to hold onto their lead to see out the win.
“We had to play more football and play more passes,” he continued. “I said to the team that it’s a lot easier to do that when you’re two-nil down than it is to do it when it really matters at nil-nil. We didn’t do it early enough.
“There were players there that haven’t kicked a ball for us for a month and came straight into the team, so I can give them the benefit of the doubt. But as a group and as a team it was woeful in the first half.
“We didn’t play our game. We lumped the ball and the cohesion wasn’t there. We didn’t play any football.
“I don’t see how we can take an opponent like Mansfield on at their game. We have to be a lot more subtle and play our game, and we didn’t.”