Daryl McMahon didn’t mince his words after Fleet’s latest home defeat, saying his “placid” team has to be braver, uglier and go out and make something happen.
After four reverses from five at the Kuflink Stadium this season, McMahon said his team have to start sharper and play quicker.
“The tempo was rubbish,” he told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster. “In that first half, we went 1-0 down and then we panicked. No other way of looking at it, we totally panicked. I don’t think we hit anywhere near the level we should be hitting with the quality we’ve got in the group. We’ve got to sort this home form out quickly.”
And panic, despite the problems at home, isn’t something he expects his side to do, even with frustrations among home supporters.
“Another poor goal to concede and then in the first half we were flat, we looked a bit nervous going one-nil down. Why would we [be nervous]?” he said. “We’re playing in front of 1,300 people, everyone in the team has played in front of more so that’s just an excuse. I’m not having that. You’re not at the Bernabeu getting booed by 100,000 people or at the biggest club in the world. We’re a team that have predominantly been a mid-table/relegation Conference team and we’re trying to improve on that so when we’re at home, we have to be braver.
“[The killer instinct] is missing. We’ve conceded the first goal at home in the five home games, given the other team an opportunity to go deep and defend and counter-attack us – which we dealt with pretty well to be fair, the counter-atacking side of it – but to go one down again is disappointing.”
Fleet did perk up in the second half, but it was not enough to break Gateshead’s resistance and McMahon wants more from his side in front of goal. “The second-half was a lot better, we dominated the ball but I still expect more,” he said. “As a manager, and staff and players we’ve raised expectations at this football club over the last three years because of how we are, which is probably unrealistic, but we have raised them. And we have to try and attain them.
“We’ve come into the league last year and had a better start, after 10 games we’ve got a couple more points, but we need to go after teams a bit more. We’ve always been a high-energy team, a high-tempo team and at the minute I think we’re a little bit placid and we need to be uglier.”
On the goalscoring side of things, McMahon feels his side needs a break but they have to go and create one.
“We had a fantastic cross, Lawrie Wilson put a great one in from Shields’ cross,” he said. “Scoring goals is hard, you’ve got to be breaking your neck in the box to score a goal, you can’t be waiting for something perfect to fall for you. You’ve got to go and make something happen sometimes and I think at the minute we are the team that try and score the perfect goal. Any goal will do, they’re all the same – you get your name in the paper whether you score from 30 yards or one.
“We’ve got one of them periods at home where you just want something to hit someone on the backside and go in just to give you a leg up, get that little bit of a monkey off your back so to speak.To go one up and then really go and kill someone, go and really batter someone. We’ve had enough of the ball but we’ve come away with another defeat. Look at the players we’ve got on the pitch today – you can’t have anymore attacking players than we have.”
Wilson played his first game since the opening day of the season while Bagasan Graham made his first appearance since the summer friendlies and McMahon thought they played their part.
“Both done well,” he said. “Lawrie hasn’t played since Chesterfield at home. He’s trained really well, I thought he put some good crosses in today and defended well. Bags came on and had an impact as well, thought he did alright and put a decent ball in as well.
“But I don’t make an excuse – we had enough of the ball and dominated the second half totally. If the [missing four] were here them four would play and after today, they’ve given themselves every chance if they’re fit next week.”
Listen to the interview below.