‘It’s a wake-up call’ – U’s boss McGreal

PUBLISHED: 06:00 17 December 2018

U's boss John McGreal. Picture: PAGEPIX

U's boss John McGreal. Picture: PAGEPIX

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Colchester United boss, John McGreal, believes that Saturday’s 4-0 trouncing at Carlisle United could end up being a blessing in disguise for the U’s.

McGreal felt that the humbling defeat at Brunton Park could be a “wake-up call” for his ambitious young side, who have been occupying the third and last of the automatic promotion places in recent weeks.

The U’s defence has been rock-solid in the last couple of months, having kept five clean-sheets in the previous eight league matches, but they were brought back down to earth with a jolt on Saturday.

“I didn’t see it coming, and I don’t think the fans saw it coming either,” explained McGreal.

“Maybe it’s a wake-up call for us, and sometimes these sort of results can help you (in the long term). There are peaks and troughs in any season – obviously we have hit a trough today and it’s a heavy defeat.

“We didn’t do the fundamentals right, even defending set pieces. To get something from a match you want at least seven players performing, but today only about 20% performed to any level.

“We made a couple of changes (substitutes early in the second half), and tweaked the system, but then we got caught on the counter from our own corner, which is disappointing. You haven’t seen us do that before.

“There were some indifferent decisions on the pitch today, but maybe we needed this wake-up call.

“Our standards and our habits weren’t there today, although the first half was very tight. But we let ourselves down in that second half.

“You are going to get disagreements on the pitch, when things are not going well and aren’t working out for you. They are expressions of views, which I’d rather see than players not caring.

“Looking ahead, there’s no better game than to play at MK Dons next weekend,” added McGreal, with reference to next Saturday’s trip to the second-placed Dons.

Saturday was the first time that the U’s had shipped more than three goals in a league match this term.

McGreal continued: “It is a game to forget, after analysing it.

“But we can’t get too disheartened with what has happened. These results do spring up in this league, from time to time.”

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