Derry City manager Peter Hutton slammed his players and warned some must “grow up” after what he described as an indefensible performance against Galway United at Brandywell on Friday night.
The Candy Stripes were booed off at both half and full-time following the 2-0 defeat which leaves them with only 13 points from 12 matches and Hutton pulled no punches after the game.
“The buck rests with me,” explained the Derry manager, “But I have never been as embarrassed in my football career, be it as a player or as a manager so I have to correct that.
“As I said to the players, I have tried to protect them as much as possible but I can’t protect them after that. I cannot defend the indefensible. Some of them need to grow up and grow up very quickly. It was poor all round.
“I take my share of the blame as manager but, certainly, there are a good number of players who need to have a good look at themselves.
“I would like to think there will be a response. You cannot afford to feel sorry for yourselves. We go to Dundalk next and if you go there with a weak mind and a soft attitude you are going to get punished.”
Hutton saw both Gerard Doherty and Shaun Patton hobble off with Anthony Elding finishing the game in nets but he defended his decision to start with Doherty.
“He (Gerard) was assessed by the medical staff all week and declared himself fit. He has had that a couple of times over the season. He was fine to play.
“No, it was far from ideal (finishing with Anthony Elding in nets) but we were down options. Anthony has done it before and we brought on Ryan Curran, so it was striker for striker, and unfortunately that was just the way it panned out.”
The Derry manager said he was disappointed with his team’s failure to put any noteworthy passages of play together in the first half.
“Very, very disappointing. I think the first half in particular was as bad as it gets. Two awful goals we conceded. The first was a mistake from Gerard (Doherty) and for the second one Shaun Kelly was caught napping. He was lazy and tried to play offside but we got punished for both mistakes.
“We didn’t play any football at all. We lumped aimless balls up front and it was just not like us. We certainly didn’t set out to play that way. We had a go at the players at half-time as to why they felt that was they way to go but at no time did we get the ball down and play it first half.
“You could see after the first goal went in a lot of the players were feeling sorry for themselves and because of that they lost their focus and were quickly punished a second time. You cannot afford to do that in this league.”
With only nine goals in 12 games, goalscoring remains a major concern and Hutton refused to rule out personnel changes once the transfer window opens in a few weeks.
“You change it (lack of goals) with hard work, there is no substitute. We have to be more clinical in the final third. We had one or two good chances and didn’t take them again. If you don’t take your chances you get punished but I would rather have quality chances than quantity and I think I counted 32 crosses we put into the box and if you can’t get your head on one or two of them, something is not right.
“We certainly haven’t been fortunate regarding injuries and we are missing key players but we can’t use that as an excuse. Players have come in and been given an opportunity; some have done okay but some haven’t done it.
“Not as yet (any transfer discussions) but, certainly, as the window comes closer we will see what develops.”