Dennis Kutrieb said his side need to stop conceding so many goals – and do it instantly – after Fleet fell to defeat against Havant & Waterlooville on Saturday. The visitors were as much in the hunt for the three points as their hosts for an hour or more of this game but three swift goals after that saw the points remain at Westleigh Park.
“We can’t concede goals as we concede them at the moment,” said the Fleet boss. “The second goal is miscommunication, the third goal from a set piece, the fourth goal was an outstanding finish there – but especially the second goal. We can’t concede the second goal, and the third goal similarly. We need to work on it, as simple as that. We need to work hard on it because if we don’t stop conceding goals, it’s not possible to win games.
“Sometimes when you score one goal away you can win the game – like many other teams did here before in the last weeks: Dartford, St Albans, they scored one goal and [it was] the winner. We scored one goal and that’s not enough to win – and that’s exactly the situation where we are and we need to stop it instantly, otherwise we have big problems.”
Fleet fought back from the blow of conceding an early penalty and Kutrieb said the response to that was better than in previous instances but there was no coming back from the second and third goals.
“I think when we conceded the first goal, everyone was better in their mentality and body language,” he said. “But after the second goal, you could see the body language dropped again a little bit and then of course after a set piece, the third one. We talked about it the whole week, that we need to be careful about set pieces and worked on it. Normally we don’t concede many goals from set pieces but that’s their strength. We needed to defend there better and of course after 3-1, you could see straight away the body language dropped massively. That’s something that comes with confidence, where we have to work harder because at the moment it’s simply not good enough.
“To be honest, that’s what we do anyway and now we have another week where we can prepare for Eastbourne and go again. There are still 14 games to go and we need to be better. We can’t drop confidence or whatever when you concede a goal, we just need to work harder and harder and that’s what we do during the training week and that’s what we’ll definitely do before the next home game.”
The game could have swung either way with the scores level at 1-1 and Kutrieb felt his side were right in it after that quick response to Havant’s opener but that the minutes that turned the game were “nowhere near good enough”.
“It’s embarrassing to say, but we played a great game in the first half,” he said. “It was an outstanding performance from the boys, they pressed up the pitch very high, we escaped their pressure and created many chances. We didn’t finish them off and had enough chances to score goals. The penalty, I don’t know. I’m tired to talk about it again and again very early in the game after five minutes. But anyway, we came back into the game and at half-time talked about what we can do better in the second half. We started quite well, they didn’t press, they changed a little bit in the pressing situations and let us play a little bit more but then we can’t concede [as we do].
“We came back into the game at 4-2 but it doesn’t matter. We don’t need to talk about possession, about chances, about good play, about an outstanding first half because at the end of the day it’s just one thing that matters and that’s points. And that’s nowhere near good enough. We need to be honest, we can’t say it was good in the first half or we can be okay with the first-half even if we don’t have the lead where we should have the lead – you simply can’t concede three goals in the second half.”
Fleet travel to Bromley on Wednesday for the manager’s first Kent Senior Cup tie and it will likely be a relatively strong side going to Hayes Lane.
“We have a few players back from injury,” said Kutrieb. “So it’s good for us that we can get them minutes there where they don’t need to play in league games. They can play on Wednesday where we can see where they are and we go from there. Everyone has a chance at the moment to come into the team because we need to find the right 11 which is able to not concede. I’m not worried about scoring goals, you could see that today with enough chances and some good spells in offensive play. But we need to stop conceding goals and if we find 11 to stop conceding goals then we’re in the right direction and that’s the aim for the upcoming week.”