Honest John

AFTER his first loss as manager of Plymouth Argyle, John Sheridan found himself bemused at how his previously unbeaten Pilgrims...

...failed to live up to their potential in a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Oxford United.

James Constable’s first-half goal was the nominal difference between the two sides but, in truth, the gulf, performance-wise, was stark, particularly in the first half. After the break, Argyle rallied, and had chances to equalise, but they never found any kind of fluency to enable to them to take any hold on the game.

“I’m very disappointed,” said John. “You wouldn’t think we were a team unbeaten in four, coming into a home game against a team that haven’t won in five. You’d think we would be the confident ones going out on the pitch.

“They were better than us. First half, they were. We’re the home team, and there was no urgency about us. I can’t say why it is. We’re unbeaten in four and got a great result last week. We should be buzzing.

“We just looked frightened. I don’t know why. There wasn’t any energy. It was a great opportunity to move away from one or two teams. We just did not get going at all. That shouldn’t be the case.

“We were sloppy all over the place. I hate that. I have a big downer on people who are sloppy. They are paid good money – they should be able to go out and perform a lot better than they did.”

After the 2-1 victory seven days previous at Aldershot, Sheridan made just one change, bringing in striker Gozie Ugwu for defensive midfielder Paul Wotton and shifting to a more offensive 4-4-2 formation.

John was frustrated, though, at the time and space the Oxford players were afforded in creating their winning goal this week, and indicated that if some of his own charges do not shape up soon, then he will be forced into numerous changes for some crucial games going forward.

He said: “The goal was a prime example of just a simple throw-in that goes out into the right back position and they get out too easy.

“I’m going to have to look at it. If there are one or two players that think they should be in the team, I might make one or two changes.

“It was just a basic throw-in and they end up scoring a goal out of it. Some of the backpasses when we were chasing the game, and some of the decisions we made, were criminal.

“I’m frustrated and disappointed with the way we played. It’s not right. It shouldn’t happen.

“If I have to make changes, I’ll make changes. I’ve got players who I think can play football. They’ve looked alright in training. I’m not a lover of changing my side, but that performance today showed me that I might just throw one or two in, with two very tough games coming up.

“I don’t mind losing football matches, and I expect us to lose football matches – but not in that manner.”