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Hurst on Cheltenham clash

10 August 2019

Manager Paul Hurst provided his post-match reaction to iFollow Iron after the 4-1 away loss at Cheltenham Town.

Lee Novak gave United the lead early in the second-half but the hosts hit back to score three goals in the space of five minutes, and netted a final strike from the penaly spot in the dying stages.

Hurst said: “I’m embarrassed and angry, and that’s what the fans are as well. I went over and clapped them, as a way of thanking them for their support, and they were clearly angry. I understand that. At the end of the day, I’m the manager and you want the team to represent you. That’s not a team performance that I enjoy being associated with.

“I’ve asked the players how much it means to them? How much they want to be a footballer? How much they want to win and to compete?

“Despite only being at the club a short space of time, some things are happening far too easily. We went 1-0 up against the run of play in the second-half. I felt in the first-half, we’d played our part but didn’t take advantage of the conditions enough. I don’t think we put the ball in the box enough - with it being more difficult for them to defend due to the wind being in that part of the pitch.

“We made it easier for Cheltenham to deal with, compared to what they did to us. They were on the front foot, put balls in the box. At the times that we did try, the quality was extremely low. You have to give people a chance to go and attack a ball, and that wasn’t happening.

“The third goal particularly, where we kicked off and it was almost immediately back up and they scored - that was criminal on our part because as much as you’re annoyed at falling behind in the game, you’re still very much in it and at 3-1 that became difficult.

“There are a couple of things that summed us up really. In the first half, on half-time, we had an attempt at goal, and there was nobody to be seen following up to make the goalkeeper scramble or pressure them to clear it.

“We had a header from Andy Butler at the end and then somehow managed to put the ball over the bar from about a yard out and that summed us up really.

“We have to improve a hell of a lot. We have to show more appetite and enthusiasm for the game, and work harder on and off the ball. A lot of things were wrong. Our knowledge of when to play long too – we spoke about their style and system, and it can often leave two versus two or three versus three, but we didn’t seem to recognise that.

“That’s got to be up there with one of the lowest points I’ve had as a manager. That’s no over-reaction. I mean this genuinely, and with all due respect, but we’ve played against a team who aren’t one of the fancied sides in the league. They fully deserved the win and we didn’t do enough to make it difficult for them. They just played more as a team, looked more on the front foot and backed each other up. There were odd moments but ultimately so little evidence of that on display from ourselves over the 94 minutes today.”

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