Southend United’s Academy Manager Ricky Duncan called on his squad to take responsibility for their actions on the pitch after watching them lose 7-0 at Peterborough United.Duncan was disappointed to see table-topping Posh run in seven goals against the Shrimpers, and was frank in his reaction to the team’s heaviest defeat for three-and-a-half years. The performance was in stark contrast to the weekend display against Leyton Orient, when Blues won 2-1.
“I take the blame for all the results. I take the blame for the team that was picked, I take the blame for the changes that we made at half-time and the system, but I can’t accept us not trying to play the way we want to play. I can’t accept it when the boys are hiding, like some were today. If they’re not going to try and get on the ball, then we won’t play,” he explained.
“We’ll go more direct and we’ll see what happens. I wanted to teach them a bit of a lesson in that, if you want to play football, you’ve got to earn that right. You’ve got to want to get on the ball and pass it. If a goal goes in, you pick yourself up and you go again, you don’t just chuck the towel in because you’ve conceded a goal. I felt that was what happened today.”
“It was a real chalk-and-cheese performance from Saturday against Leyton Orient. That was a proper team performance with some individuals stepping up and showing us they had something to offer. Today I thought they were horrendous. It was men against boys, and too many of them didn’t want the ball because it wasn’t going their way.”
“I thought Peterborough got right amongst them, and that affected them and they didn’t stand up to them. I warned them this season that if they didn’t try to play the way we want to play and stick to our game-plan, then we’d change it. I’ll take all that on my shoulders, but I won’t take them not hitting the target from the chances in the first half and not keeping a clean sheet because of poor defending.”
“I won’t take them not having the desire to go and play football. I hate the word desire because I think they should have desire. At the end of the day, you’ve got to want to get your foot on the ball and today, too many went hiding because they were up against players that were better than them.”
As a result of the reverse, the squad will now sit down to watch the fixture again on Thursday afternoon, and Duncan is looking at the individuals themselves to step up when they face Northampton Town at Boots & Laces on Saturday morning.
“The second half was down to the tactical changes, going three at the back, which is something that we haven’t really worked on this season. We did that to try and get more bodies forward and retain possession further down the pitch, and that’s down to me.”
“I was more disappointed in the first half, though, because we came here for a game of football, but from the minute they got off the coach I could tell we were in trouble. We could tell it in the dressing room and Dave [Huzzey] reported it in the warm-up.”
“Maybe it was the early start, but that’s just making excuses. The lads weren’t right and that showed in the first half. If you look at the three goals, you could say it was down to some individuals, but we didn’t pass it well enough and we didn’t go and get the ball at all. I think that half was worse; the second we were chasing the game but the first was about showing how we play, and we didn’t play,” he declared.
“They’ve got themselves in this position, and they’ve got to pick themselves up. They’re a team; they need to get amongst themselves and, out there on the pitch, they need to pick themselves up. They’re in at two o’clock tomorrow afternoon to watch the whole game, and then they’ve got to pick themselves up.”
“If they want to be playing football on Saturday, in the first fifteen minutes they need to get on the ball and I don’t care if we’re 3-0 down again. As long as we’re trying to play football, I can live with that. If I see in the first fifteen minutes that there’s a lack of effort to play the way we want to play and do the things we want to do as a football club, then we’ll change it again. They have to have some responsibility as well as the staff,” he added.