“We’re delighted with a point but really disappointed with the poor performance,” was how Stuart McCall assessed his debut as Iron manager, with United drawing 1-1 at Accrington Stanley on Saturday.
Scunthorpe weathered a storm from the hosts in the first-half before improving in the second period and going ahead through Matthew Lund’s first goal for the club on 79 minutes.
The hosts were level within two minutes though, as Seamus Conneely scored following a corner.
McCall told iFollow Iron: “I don’t think I've been involved in a team that was as poor in possession during the first 45 minutes. I’m not criticising the players, they looked edgy and nervy. Accrington played with a desire to get around the park and stop us, but we’re better than what we showed in the first-half and the lads are honest enough to admit that.
“I think Lundy kicked it out in the first 20 seconds when it was an easy pass, and that then went throughout the whole side. We gave silly free-kicks away and were so fortunate to go in at half-time level, so we changed it.
“There was a basic inability to pass and control a ball. They’ve not shown that this week but, for some reason, it spread through the team and you lose a little bit of confidence. We got it back a little bit in the second-half and started getting in better areas.
“We played a diamond (in the first-half), which I don’t play often, but I wanted to get two up front. Accrington always play 4-4-2 and I’ve been here before and cut through them a lot playing that shape. However, it doesn’t matter what shape you play if you can’t pass it from A-to-B and can’t control the ball. We changed it at half-time and were better, no doubt. We had to be, we could only improve.”
It’s the fifth time his first game as the boss of a new team has seen a draw, and McCall is looking forward to watching the footage of the game back as he plots United’s improvement going forward.
He added: “We’ll watch the game back now (on the way home) and there will be so much we can look at to help improve the players. There’s no doubt we have much work to do, but I’m looking forward to helping the players get better as a group, and that can only help us as a club.
“I don’t often enjoy watching games back when the performance was like that, but I’ll enjoy watching that one back. Overall, I feel exasperated because I always want my team to play well, but you take a point away from home at any level, especially when it’s a performance like we put in.
“There will be so many things we can help them with and I look forward to that. Once you tell them this is what we’re after, there are no excuses then.”
The boss continued: “There were little positives. Matthew Lund got his first goal, Ryan Colclough, Ike Ugbo and Andy Dales came on and made a good impact, but we needed them to. When you put your substitutes on, you ask them to do that. I was actually looking to change the shape after 30 minutes, but it’s getting the information across about where to go for corners and throw-ins, and if you can’t organise that immediately you can lose a goal from it.”
Around 450 Iron fans made the trip to the Wham Stadium, and McCall thanked them for their support throughout the afternoon.
He said: “I was disappointed for them that we couldn’t put a better performance on. They were very gracious and clapping the players off, which is good, but we’ve got to be better than that and will be better than that.”
In terms of knocks picked up on the day, McCall continued: “Novs (Lee Novak) went into the post and banged his hip. Ryan (Colclough) has a little bit of a knock but nothing too untoward at this moment in time.
“We have a game on Tuesday (in the Checkatrade Trophy against Wolves U21s), which will be good for some of the lads who haven’t played, and really you want to see as much as you can.”
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