DEREK Adams shouldered liability for Argyle’s 5-1 defeat at Luton Town, but believes his players should also accept the part they played in the out-of-character display.
Argyle were 4-0 down at Kenilworth Road after a first-half blitz from their hosts, for whom James Collins scored twice either side of strikes from Elliot Lee and Justin James.
Collins completed his hat-trick late in the second half, leaving the Pilgrims to have the final word with a great Joel Grant strike.
“I take all the responsibility because I am the manager of the football club,” said Derek, “but, at times, the manager needs his players to perform in the game; we have had that in recent weeks but today we came up against a team that was better than us, and that sometimes happens.”
After some good results and even better performances, the heavy loss was an unwelcome shock to a team of players that had been given leave of absence for the Checkatrade Trophy match at Newport in midweek to help them get ready for the weekend.
Derek said: “We’ve all had to travel to Newport on a Tuesday night to allow them to get fresh and ready for the game, and they have put in a performance like that.
“The players have got to take a great deal of responsibility for the result because they couldn’t have been prepared any better than they were for the game.
“There was a multitude of things that we could have done a lot better. They just weren’t at it and obviously giving them Tuesday night off at Newport to get them ready for the game on Saturday backfired and they haven’t repaid me with a performance today.
“That’s disappointing because they were fresh and ready to go, but I thought Luton were very good, the way they played, the way they passed the ball, the way they ran forward, the creativity they had in the team – they were excellent.
“There weren’t many opportunities in the first half, but they took them when they came along.
“I’m let down by the players, obviously I am, because I played them for the games previously and they have done well for us, but today, they have let me down. There’s no two ways about it.
“I can’t come out and back them all the time. They have put on a very poor display here. I’m not taking anything away from Luton because they have done well, but our players haven’t been at it at times.
“They have to do a million times better than they did today. They were very poor. I’m not taking anything away from Luton – Luton were very good – but our players didn’t tackle; didn’t show the desire to stop shots; and, in the opposition half, when we get in good positions, we don’t have the desire to have a shot at goal.
“They could have stopped shots; they could have gone with their runners; they could have blocked the ball in from the sides; the wide players could have gone with their runners, as well, the full-backs; and they could have stopped the goals that went in.
“It was obviously a difficult day for us. To lose the goals we did in the first half was very poor, defensively, not just as a back four, but as a team, and it allowed them some really decent opportunities to get goals very quickly in the game and that set us back.
“We lost a penalty right on half-time to make it 4-0 and it’s a long way back after that.
“We thought we might be able to get back into the game at 3-0 but to lose a goal right on half-time to 4-0, the game was finished and we did have to try to shut up shop in the second half.
“Did we attack much? No we didn’t. When we did attack, we did have a few opportunities, but we couldn’t allow the scoreline to get any bigger than it was.”