Declan Devine says he's not pressing any panic buttons after defeat to Longford

DECLAN DEVINE insists there's no panic buttons being pressed after a shock opening night defeat to league newcomers Longford Town at Bishopsgate.

Saturday, 20th March 2021, 9:24 pm
Updated Saturday, 20th March 2021, 9:28 pm
Declan Devine

The City boss claimed his side lacked aggression, intensity and creativity as Longford clinched a first win over the Candy Stripes since 2015.

And Devine, who admitted his team could've lost by a bigger margin, warned they must improve quickly.

Dylan Grimes stunned the visitors with an eighth minute strike into the corner of the net. And Joe Gorman reacted quickest on 72 minutes to fire past Nathan Gartside who had parried Aodh Dervin's powerful free-kick into his path.

Devine was disappointed with the goals conceded but felt his side never recovered from a sluggish start.

"We were lethargic," said the City boss. "We were easy to play against and we need to get better in all aspects. There's 35 games to play so there's no panic buttons being pressed just yet."

Was he surprised at how slow his side was to get going as Longford set the tone with a high energy opening to a game they ultimately dominated?

"We've had five and half weeks together. Tonight was a real sucker punch. We've a couple of weeks to get better now and have to work extremely hard to make sure that type of performance doesn't happen again.

"We can't perform like that and expect to win football games. It knocked the stuffing out of us the way we started the game. It was poor, there's no other way around it. I thought coming into the game we were in a good place in terms of our performances.

"Our preparation was good but whenever you start a League of Ireland game without any really aggression or intensity it's going to cost you. I thought tonight we started sluggish. I don't know if people thought we just had to turn up to win but that's not the way we are.

"We have to play with more aggression, more quality and play with more intensity but we'll suck it up and move on and try and get ready for Waterford at home which I feel will be the next one."

Questions were asked in the dressing room at the final whistle but Devine was at a loss to explain such a lethargic opening to the league campaign.

"I asked the guys in the changing room to tell me me because we spoke all week about how Longford play with high intensity and work hard for each other. They haven't' got household names as such but they have a real desire to win football matches.

"I have no doubt we will get better. I back these boys and we have a lot of good players in there but tonight for some reason it wasn't there.

"Longford were a better team tonight and created better chances. We could've been beaten more heavily."

We go i nto selfv reflctuioin now and make sure that doesn't hgaooen again.

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Simon Collins