Dunfermline Athletic

Manager on Thursday

Thursday, 13th Jan 2022

13/01/22: JH - “If you want to stay in this league, you have to get results and if it is an ugly one then I will take it.”

Dunfermline manager John Hughes is well aware of the need for his team to start picking up points and the requirement for that to come quick. With Ayr United defeating top of the table Arbroath after the appointment of former Pars favourite, Lee Bullen as their manager and Dougie Imrie achieving a bounce for Morton, a win over Hamilton is probably more than just desirable. The manager agreed:-

“Yes we need to do it very fast. After wins in the first two games when I came in, we thought we were up and running but I think I said then that it is a long season, we don’t have a magic wand and we are under no illusions, even after those victories, how tough it is going to be. It has not changed.

“From now until the end of the season, 24/7 it has just got to be football, football, Dunfermline, football bring it to the table. There is also the pressure of where we are, that is not an excuse - you have to deal with it. You are a professional, it is part and parcel so get your positive mindset, bring that to the table and be ready to go come Saturday.”

John stressed how important it was that the players do feel sorry for themselves after the serious defeat at Cappielow and that it is his job to show enthusiasm to get them going again. He added an apology to fans:-

“I would like to take the opportunity to apologise to our supporters, it is not acceptable especially where we are against a team that is round about us. A team that we have not beat this season.

“It is really disappointing, there is a frustration but it was one of those games - everything that Morton did came off for them and we were on the wrong end of it. We play a lot of nice football but we need to start being better in both boxes, more attacking, more shots and making more crosses, hopefully scoring goals and we have to defend better.

“It is not rocket science. We have had the unfortunate task of looking over the game again. It is our job to view the 90 minutes and it is our job to try and rectify the mistakes. I would like to think that we will be a lot better on Saturday on the back of the disappointment of losing the game against Morton and use that as the fuel to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Harsh words were dispensed in the away team’s changing facilities in Greenock and John felt that they needed said:-

“It is not usually my style believe it or not. A little bit of honesty and also a challenge to them of what are you going to do about it.

“What I say to every player at any club that I have been at, come a Saturday - don’t you be the one that is letting yourself down, your team mates down and don’t be the one that is found wanting. That’s mentally as well as physically. Do what you have to do to be the Man of the Match.

“That is the challenge that we have put to them. My biggest hope is that they are doing it for the club and their teammates. If that’s the case then we will be in a good place.”

The manager agreed that playing nice football is unlikely to be the way out of the situation:-

“I think we need to mix it up a bit. It goes back to when I first came in. We are vulnerable defensively, so we try and give them a little bit of protection and we want to score more goals but if we put the extra one upfront it leaves us vulnerable.

“We just need to keep working hard and draw all that we are seeing up into the training curriculum and rectify it. We keep working on it and hopefully it sinks in. I am just hoping that this is the wake up call for us to get going, let’s get a few wins together.

“It is not easy, we have got Hamilton here on Saturday, Morton have beaten us the last two times and we need to stand up and be counted. If you want to stay in this league, you have to get results and if it is an ugly one then I will take it.”

Hughes’ stated that his side needs to be being better in both boxes but does he have the personnel to pull that off?

“It is our job to analyse it and no matter what kind of system that we are playing, there is a lot of stuff that we have to add to our game. That is what we have been doing on the training pitch. We need more bodies in the box, we certainly need more crosses because we don’t cross the ball enough.

“If you have put your cross in the box, you have done your job, we will be looking at the boys who should be in the box or not in there. In terms of shots, we are constantly doing a lot of shooting stuff, encouraging them to shoot so hopefully that can make a difference on Saturday.

“My frustration is that I have seen them do it. There was Ayr United beating Arbroath. Arbroath beat us 3-0 but we beat Ayr United 3-0. Everyone is capable of beating each other and I have seen us when we were really good against Ayr United so let’s get back to those heights on a more consistent basis and give the 500 supporters who are coming in on Saturday something to sing about.”

When those supporters enjoyed the solitary home league game of the season over Ayr, Lewis McCann scored twice but he has had a lot of responsibility on his shoulders when selected to play upfront on his own. His manager feels that it is just about finding the right balance and he is sure that it will come.

“We have other strikers but even on Saturday when we put two upfront it still kept coming back at us. It is up to guys to take the responsibilities to go and help your team mate and showing that desire to go that extra yard.

“Even after a heavy defeat when you have probably been battered from pillar to post and people are there to ridicule you it is important to stick together, stay strong and prove people wrong. We have talked about all this stuff, it is up to these guys to go out and implement it. I’m quite sure that will be the case.”

John Hughes also spoke to Jordan Burt for ParsTV

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