Dennis Kutrieb admitted Maidstone were full of confidence in a win they fully deserved as Fleet “didn’t get the basics right” following the defeat at the Gallagher Stadium.
“You need to keep your focus, to see what mistakes we had done today and of course [there were] far too many definitely,” the Fleet manager told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster. “You can’t get distracted when you consider the early goal, where you think maybe it’s unfair or you feel that’s not right or whatever, you have to get on with these things, get on with decisions, that’s football. We had a good spell late in the first half and at the beginning of the second but of course that’s similar to Dorking on Saturday. When you concede a second goal in such an important game, it’s not easy to take for the boys and then you could see Maidstone are full of confidence and they get the win, and a deserved win.”
The early goal was a setback for the Fleet from the first minute and with the game ending with three sendings-off, Kutrieb conceded that both he and his side need to brush aside decisions that go against them. Sefa Kahraman received a second yellow alongside Maidstone goalkeeper Tom Hadler’s straight red, while the Ebbsfleet manager was also sent to the stands for what was later revealed to be leaving his technical area as he attempted to pacify the situation and move his players away from the fracas.
“The referee couldn’t really tell me [at the time] why he sent me off,” said Kutrieb. “He just said the linesman made the decision or told him to send me off. Maybe I need to learn as well not to be involved. I just wanted to help the referee to be honest, I didn’t say anything bad, nothing negative, no swearing. I just wanted to help to get our players back on the pitch so they are not involved but obviously you get punished sometimes.
“Even if you feel the world is against you, you need to get on with it. I have to learn there as well and learn quickly because I can’t get frustrated so much week in, week out. If the referee on the day makes decisions against us, we have to take it and get on with it, try to make a good game and fight together. [If we make] the right decisions, it doesn’t matter if the referee has a good or a bad game.
“Sometimes football is hard, you need to take it you need to digest it, need to see the right things. Of course we have two losses in a row but you can’t get carried away when you have bad performances. You need to get a goal, a scrappy goal which just goes in and then you’re back in the game. Then you get a little bit more confidence.
“At the moment it’s not easy for the boys either because they want to do better, they want to get wins, they want to prove that they’re good enough and they worked hard today again, even after a 4-0 defeat. It’s tough for me to say as a manager but I can’t blame them because the workrate was OK. I couldn’t say they didn’t want to win, they didn’t do enough. But especially then late in the second half after the second goal, Maidstone were better and in the 50/50 decisions they were definitely sharper over the 90 minutes.”
The fixture schedule is relentless this and early next month as most sides in the division catch up on postponed games, with Fleet facing Hampton on Saturday and Dartford the following Tuesday and Kutrieb says they can’t afford to dwell on the past couple of days.
He said: “What the boys instantly need is to have a good recovery because Saturday is not not an easy game, it’s a tough game as well and we’re very frustrated. We’re very angry but when we are in tomorrow, we can talk about it and then we need to focus on Hampton because the good thing in football is it doesn’t matter how tough it is and how much it hurts, it’s gone one day later because you need to prepare the next game. We don’t have time to talk about it or to feel bad because you need to be ready for Saturday again.
“Normally I see my boys always with confidence but when you have two heavy defeats, maybe there’s a doubt, or there’s someone who doubts his own performance. But I know the boys well and I couldn’t see that they have a real dip now because they know they can be good enough.
“We didn’t deliver the basics right and maybe we need a good decision in our situation, that one-time bit of luck or rub of the green with a referee where we get an early penalty, where we get a sending-off from the opponent or a little bit more in our direction. At the moment everyone feels a little bit like the world is against us but that’s not the right mentality. I have the same feeling but we need to get rid of it because you never can be successful if you have these feelings. You need to get on with it and and then you need to go again, work hard and do it better the next game.”