A dejected Declan Devine described Derry City’s performance against U.C.D. at the Brandywell on Friday as “not good enough” and said that he will not hesitate in making changes if his team don’t improve quickly.
U.C.D. won the game 2-1 and it was the first time in five years that the Students came away with all three points from the Brandywell.
“Training had been brilliant all week - we were confident going into the game and I can’t put my finger on what is going on at the Brandywell but if that’s the kind of performance that we are producing then changes have to be made,” said Devine after the game.
“I will be quite happy to bring in some of the younger players for the rest of the season if other people aren’t prepared to go out and work their socks off for the team.”
Devine lamented the absence of such influential players as Simon Madden, Patrick McEleney and Stephen McLaughlin but refused to use their unavailability as an excuse for the defeat.
“Tonight’s performance was not good enough and it will not be tolerated but we have to persevere because we were missing key players like Stephen McLaughlin, Simon Madden and Patrick McEleney.
“We lost the game because we were not focused and we got punished. We weren’t concentrating enough and then they scored 21 seconds after the second half had started - it’s just not good enough.”
The shock defeat will have done Devine’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Setanta Sports Cup no favours. Derry are currently in seventh place in the Premier Division but in order to qualify for the Setanta sponsored competition they would have to finish in fifth.
“I am disappointed and I am angry. I felt that for all of the preparation we put in this week, we didn’t start the game well. We made a lot of careless mistakes and as a result our careless approach left us wide open,” he said.
“If you don’t respect your opponents it will come back to bite you and I felt that we didn’t start the game the way I wanted. We were aware that U.C.D. were a team with talent and had the ability to cause us problems and the reality is that we were punished for our mistakes tonight.”
It was a match from which it was hard to take positives, but Devine found time to welcome back goal-scorer Kevin Deery to the team and said that he was impressed with how Barry McNamee had performed.
“Kevin Deery is outstanding. I think he showed the type of player he is with his drive and determination when he came on and scored - he refused to celebrate and just wanted to get the equaliser. Kevin Deery is exactly the type of player we want at this club - he was outstanding tonight.
“Barry McNamee is an excellent talent. He has been excellent for us in the last few games and it was also great to see young Michael Duffy come on and nearly score too.
“We are down a lot of players so as a result the young players have got their chance. I believe that the only way young players get better is by playing games and Barry McNamee looks one hell of a young player. I just hope it can continue to the end of the season.”
Derry take on league leaders Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds next Saturday night where Devine said a repeat of Friday’s performance against U.C.D. will not be good enough.
“I think we will go to Sligo with a point to prove because that type of performance will not be accepted.
“Next Saturday’s game is also live on television so it will be an opportunity for people to get a bit of respect back for themselves.”