Captain Gerard Doherty is adamant that off field distractions and refereeing decisions cannot be used as a excuse for Derry City’s recent poor form.
With on-going speculation surrounding Ronan Curtis’ expected departure to Portsmouth and talk of refereeing performances surfacing almost every week, Doherty made an impassioned plea to keep the focus firmly on the field of play.
“It doesn’t affect me. I try to come in to do my job, to be professional, prepare for the game and go out and try to do it. You’d have to ask the other 18 players in the squad that question because it’s an individual thing,” he insisted.
“To be honest and, excuse my language, but I don’t give a f*** who comes or goes. We’re Derry City. The people going out on the pitch are Derry City. It doesn’t matter to me who’s coming or going. I’ve had enough of that b******t, we’re the ones going out onto the pitch and we have a job to do.
“It doesn’t matter who’s coming or going, or who’s training, not training or what referee is doing what, we’re the ones who have to take responsibility, go out onto the pitch and f****** try and win a match.”
The experienced keeper's anger followed Derry's second heavy defeat in a matter of days at St Patrick’s Athletic and Doherty concedes that the City squad need to put in a performance against Bray Wanderers on Monday night for the fans.
“I don’t even know where to begin. I’m still a bit fuzzy about the whole game. It’s deja-vu from the other night,” he added.
“Maybe we haven’t recovered mentally from the other night but it can’t keep happening. We lose momentum in the game and we can’t get it back and I don’t know why. We were on top, we scored early and looking alright but then we just conceded silly goals again.
“I can’t believe it. I’m in absolute disbelief. It just seems that every week we’re talking about referees and decisions. My feeling on it is that the crowd got on top of him. There are no ball boys here and the ball has gone into the corner and he wants me to sprint out, get the ball and he’s getting on to me after ten minutes, telling me to hurry up.
“I don’t understand it because their goalkeeper was doing the same when they’re winning 3-2 and we were trying to get back into the game and I’m looking at the ref and he’s not even looking at the goalkeeper; he doesn’t want to know.
“I don’t know where the penalty has come out of. In my mind, the crowd has maybe got on his back and he has struggled to deal with what’s in front of him as a game of football. It changed the whole game and swung everything. But at the same time we have to recover quicker. We conceded right after scoring and we conceded straight away after the penalty and that’s obviously something we need to look at.”
The 36-year-old doesn’t want to revisit the St Pat’s loss and believes Derry need to focus on tomorrow evening’s clash against Bray Wanderers.
“That’s gone. I’m not even sure about analysing that game because if you do, you’d drive yourself mad. You just have to clear the heads,” he said.
“We said it at half time; ‘Let’s clear the heads and get back to business here’ but at the minute I don’t know if it’s confidence or whatever, but it’s hard to get it back. We just have to stick together as a group and get back to being solid again because you can’t go from keeping clean sheets against Cork to conceding so many goals in two games. It’s madness, but at the end of the day we’re the players and we have to take responsibility out on the pitch and we do.
“I see some people coming on sometimes and saying sorry to the fans and we should be f****** sorry for that because they are paying their money to come down and seeing that load of s**t.
“That’s two games in a row and the fans need to see a reaction and we need to have the b***s to give them a reaction in the next game.”