Hurst Fumes After Cup Defeat
Tuesday, 14th Aug 2018 23:25
Manager Paul Hurst was scathing about his side’s performance after they exited the Carabao Cup to Exeter 4-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw.
Asked whether he was particularly disappointed with the second half display, Hurst responded: “I was disappointed with the performance in the first half. We can pretend we passed it at times. I think we had a couple more efforts in the second half which tested the keeper more.
“It was too slow, too pedestrian, people were not really playing where they were supposed to. Therefore, didn’t make it anywhere near as fluid as it needed to be.
“I didn’t think we worked hard enough in possession, I didn’t think we worked hard enough out of possession.
“A couple of times, and the players will be shown, Exeter players were running past ours far to easily.
“I’m not having it that they’ve got players who were a lot faster or a lot fitter, stronger or whatever it is.
“So the players will be made aware of that, we’ll go through it. So, not just second half for me.”
He says home truths were told at half-time and at the end: “They needed to be. I’ve said what I am, I’m honest, I say what I think, say what I see. That’s what I saw.
“If we honestly feel that we were anywhere close to what we should be and lost the game, like I said, with all due respect to the players Exeter have got and they put out, it wasn’t their strongest team.
“We should have controlled that game, we didn’t. Another pathetic goal to concede and at the end one or two attacks but too little too late.”
Hurst says he hadn’t seen that display coming following the first two matches: “No, not at all. I made a couple of changes but again I don’t think that’s the contributing factor to that performance.
“I’m massive on the facts of what goes on between your ears and how you approach things and clearly our attitude wasn’t right for tonight.”
Following the game he says the players need to stand up and be counted and show a reaction.
“There are some massive games in front of us that in some ways people will, I dare say, say they’re good games for us, but if we play like that they won’t be good games for us, that’s for sure.
“And it’ll start at training, we’ll see now who wants to step up, who’s going to shy away and not be the type of character that we need moving forward. So yes, a lot of questions to be answered from tonight.”
He dismissed the suggestion that there might be an excuse given it’s a young squad which is in the process of gelling: “No, not at all.”
Are there enough characters in the squad? “That’s what we’ve got to clearly have. As I was just saying, if one or two are trying to ease their way in they’ve got to step up quicker, find their feet, find their voice, find the performances to make a difference and do what they want to do.
“I spoke before about people being at the football club not to be the limit of their ambitions. But performances like that and there’s only one way everyone will go and that won’t be moving on to better things.
“So we’ve got to dig deep, do some soul searching. Again I really like the phrase about looking in the mirror and being honest. Have they given everything? Have they prepared correctly? All of those things.
“Because somewhere along the line clearly something wasn’t right in terms of that performance.”
While most fans will understand it’s going to take time for the team to come together after the summer changes, some will be starting to get concerned after three games without a win at the start of the season.
“Yes, of course, and that’s natural. That performance worries me,” Hurst admitted. “But I don’t think it’s a true reflection of what we’ve got, in all honesty.
“I think we’ve seen that in the other two performances. Take the result aside from Rotherham, the performance for large parts was good and encouraging.
“But that, like I say, was night and day in comparison. I understand people having concerns.”
Will he be getting the players in for extra training in the next few days having flown back this evening?
“The issue is as much as we’re trying to do things right and get back as soon as possible, I’m not sure getting them in tomorrow is particularly the right way forward, so I think we’ll wait until Thursday,” he said.
“But we won’t be not working hard, that’s for sure. Like I said, some of the players will be shown some things as well that are unacceptable and I don’t want to see them again.
“As hard as it was to take losing the game on Saturday, you can get over it slightly because I felt like players gave their all, there were just some moments where we didn’t take advantage. Tonight I didn’t think I saw that.”
Does he believe complacency was a factor, some players perhaps believing they just needed to turn up to win away at a League Two club?
“It looked like that and I’ve got to concentrate on my team so I’ll not take anything away from Exeter, who have had a great pre-season, haven’t been beat, won their first two league games and are a team clearly in confident mood,” he added.
“But I thought we had some bits of play early on that we showed that we should have control of it, we got ourselves in front and then really you’re looking to kick on from that. But I didn’t see any evidence of that.
“We had one or two bits of pressure but at the same time they also looked like they could add to the scoreline.
“So it has to come into it, it’s got to because if we were our best then I think we win the game.”
Does the display change his thoughts regarding further recruitment? “I think every time you set foot on the pitch and you witness things unfolding in front of you, naturally you’re always assessing.
“I’ve got to do that and got some time before Saturday to think about that and what’s the best way forward for us.
“But, yes, it certainly throws up some questions I’ve got to try and answer. Obviously we’re in a position where there’s only so much business we can do and we’ve got to try and get that right.”
Hurst says there’s nothing new on any ins or outs on loan: “Not as we speak now. Like I said, things can happen very quickly but on tonight’s evidence we need more in than we will do, I’m sure.
“But I’m sure I’m expecting some of those players to step up and show they’re much better players than they did tonight.
One positive on the night was the return of Teddy Bishop and Danny Rowe as subs after long spells out.
“Good to get them back out there, they’ve both been missing for some time and in some ways I felt for Teddy in terms of missing the penalty but apart from a natural disappointment he doesn’t need to be too down about that,” he said.
“Yes, if it gets to that stage you want to come out on the right side of it, but it should have been over before that. So I’m pleased for them and a step forward in the right direction for them.”
Are the duo in consideration for the 18 in the Championship? “Again that’s something I’ve got to really give some thought to. Can they give us enough off the bench?
“You don’t have to put them on straight away but if they are on there and something happens, then have we got the options; if it was an early substitution it wouldn’t be one of them.
“That’s part of what I have to consider. I’ll guess I’ll mull that over the next day or two.”
Exeter manager Matt Taylor was delighted that his side claimed the win, believing they got stronger as the game went on.
“Obviously pleased," he said. "First-half I felt we showed them a little too much respect, stood off them a little bit, but still created some good chances.
“The substitutions freshened us up, gave us real fresh legs and we looked like a running team for the last half hour and we probably looked like the stronger team going towards the end.
“We created some good chances. When it goes to pens it's pot luck to be honest with you, but we held our nerve, delighted for the three young boys getting game time.”
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