The Manager’s frank assessment after Leicester
Huddersfield Town Manager Simon Grayson gave a frank assessment of what needs to be done to put things right after the heavy New Year’s Day defeat at Leicester City.
Town’s boss believes the responsibility lies at his door and with the players after the run of games without a win was extended to ten following the 6-1 defeat at the King Power Stadium.
The Terriers started with a 4-5-1 formation to try and contain the promotion-chasing Foxes, but an early brace from Chris Wood blew that plan to pieces.
“I’m the Manager and I take responsibility for the football team, but you are lost for words at times,” Simon explained. “We came here with a game-plan to try and keep Leicester quiet by keeping things solid and making yourself hard to beat, which is why we played the system that we did, but we started the game dreadfully.
“We wanted to go with a back four that was nice and solid behind a compact midfield five that would frustrate them, but certain players didn’t do the job that we asked them to do and before you know it you are two goals down and your plan goes out of the window. We switched to a 4-4-2 at that point, but that is a little expansive when you have Leicester playing to their capabilities with the passing, movement and pace they have in their team.
“We weren’t tight enough around the pitch. We knew Leicester would get off to a lightening start, because that’s how they’ve started many games this season, but obviously to go a couple of goals down so early on affected us.
“We asked the lads to go out in the second half and restore a little bit of pride, but only a few minutes in we were four goals down and it was a long slog in the second half for everybody.”
Goalkeeper Alex Smithies was withdrawn at half time through injury, as the Manager explained.
“Alex got a dead leg in the build-up to one of the goals. He tried to carry on, but he found it a bit too much so he came off.”
Simon believes that poor decision making from the players is the key factor behind Town’s slump in form.
“The players have to take a lot of responsibility on board, because they are making the wrong decisions. I’ll take responsibility too as it is my team and my players, but this is the same group of players that were in the top six of the division eight weeks ago that is suddenly making the wrong decisions. You look at Joel Lynch for their third goal – he made an absolutely crazy decision; why didn’t he put his foot through the ball? If we’d got in at half time two goals down we might have been able to address the situation.
“We are a young team, but once players cross the right line they have to make the right decisions – I can’t talk them through things all the time. It’s easy to play when the team is doing well, but we need players to dig in and understand what to do when things aren’t going well.
“You need players that will take responsibility; people with the knowledge of the game and the passion, desire and legs to do everything that I require.
“It’s worrying. We always look to be positive, but you can’t be positive after today’s performance because we were very lacklustre. All you want your players to do is run around, chase and work but we were second best to everything today. As I said earlier, Leicester have good players and are rightly one of the favourites for the division but they looked streets ahead of us.
“You have to apologise to the supporters for the performance we put out there, but at the same time you have to give credit to Leicester – they are a good team. However, we certainly helped them win the game comfortably today and that is hugely disappointing. We need to do something about it.
“A few weeks ago everybody was giving us plaudits and perhaps the players started to believe in that and think they are better players than they are? They have stopped working like they did in the first half of the season and are doing things that have got us into this dip that we’re in at this moment in time.”
Grayson and the squad have to regroup quickly to prepare for Saturday’s FA Cup Third Round game at Charlton Athletic and the Manager explained that process will start early on Wednesday morning.
“The one thing we will have to do is work hard. We’ll be in first thing tomorrow morning to watch the DVD and there will be no days off for the players, because we have to get ready for the weekend now. We have to make sure we do whatever we can and the players have to act responsibly. We have to do everything we can to get results.
“We are where we are and we have to get back to doing the basics. We’re making wrong decisions; passing five yards inside the pitch when we should be getting down the sides of them. We have to try and grind a foothold into these games, because today we gave Leicester so many opportunities to score. It’s frightening.
“One or two players are not helping the cause over the last few weeks with their performances, so I have to sit down and figure out what we need to do to end the run that we’re on and get back to winning ways. There are players who will certainly be looking over their shoulder now to see if they are in at the weekend and then for the Birmingham game a week later.”
Despite the disappointing run, Grayson still believes the squad can turn things around:
“We’re in a position in the League that at the start of the season people that we would be. I suppose the expectancy levels increased on us a little bit because we had such a good start, but we’ll keep working hard and do whatever is necessary to help us get results.
“We’ve shown little signs over the last few weeks, but ‘little’ isn’t good enough. At Palace we played well enough and we scrapped to get a result against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. I don’t think things are going for us at this moment in time – we’re missing penalties and people aren’t being sent off against us – but that is not an excuse for the players to stop doing the jobs they are asked to do.
“You have to be realistic and we’re in a position, and run, at this moment in time when we’re not doing enough to win matches. We’re going down the table rather than up it and we’re honest enough to realise that we can get dragged into a relegation battle if we’re not careful.
“The players have to get the belief and confidence back and do the things that got us results in the early part of the season. I still believe we have a group of players that is capable of doing that, but we have to get results quickly.”
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