McGuinness: Vital We Take Three Points From Burton Game
Monday, 14th Dec 2020 12:02
Town are under pressure to beat Burton Albion at Portman Road tomorrow night after a well-below-par display in losing 2-0 at home to Portsmouth at the weekend, as loan defender Mark McGuinness has been quick to acknowledge.
McGuinness will take the hurt from being turned over by Pompey on Saturday into the visit of League One’s bottom side and confessed: “We need a win. The three points are vital and we know we need to play better than we did against Portsmouth. That’s what we will be aiming to do.
“I know the fans will be expecting us to win but every team, every game in this league, is difficult and there are no pushovers. They all have their own particular styles of play that works for them. Yes, on paper we probably should beat Burton and we definitely have the quality to go out and do it. But we can’t be thinking the three points will come easily.”
Boss Paul Lambert has been the main target for supporters’ flak recently, with Town suffering three successive home defeats to promotion contenders Hull, Charlton and Portsmouth, conceding seven goals without replay, and winning just two of their last nine games in all competitions.
McGuinness has sympathy for his manager, adding: “It’s easy for everyone to blame the manager but at the end of the day it’s us, the players, who are performing out on the pitch.
“We need to improve, train well and go out against Burton tomorrow night to make sure we do better. I feel it’s harsh to believe one individual, whether it’s the manager or a player, when it’s a team game and we need to improve as a collective.”
Asked if the players continued to back the under-fire Lambert, the 19-year-old Arsenal loanee continued: “Definitely. This isn’t the time to point the finger and apportion blame. Everyone needs to stick together and remember that the situation could be an awful lot worse.
“We’re still sixth in the table and it’s a long season with 28 games still to play. We should forget about blaming anyone and get on with the games.”
Town’s poor record against League One’s better sides has been a major problem, both last season and in the current campaign. The statistics in that time make for depressing reading – of their 25 games against top 10 sides they have recorded just three wins and from the 75 points available they have banked a mere 18.
No matter tomorrow’s outcome, with Town travelling to face fourth-placed Peterborough at the weekend McGuinness said: “We know how vital it is that we beat the teams in and around the top of the league, but it’s just as important that we beat the teams around the bottom of the table because every point counts.
“Winning helps to build confidence and I think we were a bit unlucky in some games nearer the start of the season. Overall, though, I know we would definitely be in a much better place if we could beat at least some of the top teams in this league.”
On a personal note, McGuinness has become a regular choice at the heart of Town’s defence with nine starts and an off-the-bench appearance in 10 of the club’s last 11 first-team games, only missing out altogether when Lambert fielded a very young and inexperienced line-up in last month’s EFL Trophy defeat at Crawley.
How has he been finding it in League One? “It has been difficult and I’m not surprised because I never came here thinking it would be a pushover,” he said.
“Every team is different and every game is hard, and the relentless of the games coming Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Tuesday, is something else I have to deal with. But I’m really enjoying the battles and the experience.
“It’s never going to be a straight road and it’s never going to be easy from one game to the next. That was never what I expected from coming here. It’s all about learning and trying to get back on the straight and narrow if you’ve had a disappointing performance like we did on Saturday.
“It’s all part and parcel of the experience. This is real-life football, playing for the three points, and there are no excuses about development or styles of play. At the end of the day we need the three points and there is no room for errors.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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