Nerves, wrong decisions, but still everything to play for - U's boss McGreal

PUBLISHED: 06:03 08 April 2019

Sammie Szmodics goes down in the area after pressure from Gevaro Nepomuceno, but his claims for a penalty were waved away.  Picture: STEVE WALLER    WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

Sammie Szmodics goes down in the area after pressure from Gevaro Nepomuceno, but his claims for a penalty were waved away. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Nerves played a big part in Colchester United's 2-0 home defeat to Oldham Athletic on Saturday, according to manager John McGreal.

Dillion Barnes makes a first half save, but by this time the U's were already chasing a two goal deficit.  Picture: STEVE WALLER    WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMDillion Barnes makes a first half save, but by this time the U's were already chasing a two goal deficit. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

It was the U’s third home reverse on the bounce following losses to Forest Green Rovers and Tranmere.

“We looked nervous early on, and that has cost us,” insisted McGreal

“We had the euphoria of last week (dramatic late 1-0 win at Cambridge United), and even the warm-up today was excellent, but then you could sense that the boys were nervous early on, and that showed in some of their decisions.

“Everyone makes mistakes – we all make mistakes – it’s just at the moment that the key decisions which we are making are really costing us.

“They are costing us goals.

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“This is a run of form at home that I haven’t had as such, since I’ve been here.

“I thought we gave it a good go in the second half, and that was the talk at half-time to try and get the next goal, but it shouldn’t take 45 minutes and a team-talk to get them going, and to show that sort of intent.

“We tried to make things happen, but Oldham threw their bodies on the line and I felt we were not cute enough in front of goal.

“In those key areas we chose the wrong decision, whether it be shooting rather than trying to set up tap-ins for other players, or picking people out more.

“The performance was a bit better in second half, but it’s easier to do that when we are 2-0 down rather than taking the game by the scruff of the neck.

“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb after that first half, and that fear feeling in those first 20 minutes was a factor.

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“We are trying to tell the boys to take a breath and take their time, from the sidelines, but it took until half-time to get the message over,” added McGreal.

However, the U’s boss still believes that his team can make the play-offs – they are now two points and two places adrift of the top-seven.

“We haven’t been able to get back-to-back wins of late, which has been a problem. We need that consistency,” said McGreal. “But we are still only two points off it, rather than the one point before, and there’s five games to play, so there’s everything to play for.

“As long as have a breath to get in there, we will be poking and prodding the boys to get us in there.”

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