Standing Up

JUST three games into the new season, John Sheridan admits he is under pressure after his reassembled Pilgrims’ side’s stuttering start to the new season.

Successive League 2 defeats, at Southend and by Fleetwood in their Home Park curtain-raiser, have been sandwiched by a Capital One Cup exit at Championship side Birmingham.

A majority of the players who started each game – and who will form the backbone of the team at Cheltenham this Saturday – came to the Westcountry in the summer, and John said: “I’m under pressure because I brought a lot of the players in.

“I’ll stand up. I accept being criticised, because the performances haven’t been good enough.

“My job as a manager is to try to get the best out of them and that’s what I’ll be doing. I’ll be working even harder now. We need to start performing better, and hopefully the results will start coming.”

Last weekend’s 2-0 defeat by Fleetwood – through two early David Ball goals – was even more disappointing as it followed quickly from a highly impressive cup display against Birmingham side that finished more than 50 places above the Pilgrims last season.

John said: “It was a big let-down for the first home game of the season, so we have got to try to get it sorted out and get back to what we did at Birmingham. If we give that sort of performance, we have got a good chance of winning matches.

“We have got to improve our performance all over the pitch. All the players have got to realise what they can do better and what we, as a team, can do better.

“We are trying to get it into the players that we can easily go on a run and win three or four games and everything looks rosy.

“This league’s very evenly matched. Teams are up and down, players are up and down, performances are up and down – the magic word is ‘consistency’.

“That’s something have got to try to get in our game. If we do that, we’ll be okay.

“At Birmingham, I’m looking at players who played really well and we were praising them, and then I’m not looking at the same players last Saturday.

“Without looking for an excuse, I think the two goals conceded so quickly really hit us hard and we just didn’t respond, even though we had enough time to get back into the game.
“I’m not going to feel sorry for myself and I don’t want my players feeling sorry for themselves. We have worked hard; one or two things have been said; and we’re in it together.

“There’s only us can get it right, and especially the players on the pitch.”