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Neil: "There Is No Hiding Place"

29 October 2018

Joint Caretaker Manager Neil Howarth admitted Saturday’s defeat away at Cambridge United was difficult to take after going behind moments after Ben Stephens hit the crossbar for The Silkmen.

“I thought we had gone and scored and probably gone on to win the game [after Stephens hit the bar] but like you say literally seconds later we have not done.

“It was the first time in the whole match where I thought we lost our shape a little bit. Two half-bad decisions and the ball is in the back of our net, when we could have been celebrating a goal at the other end.”

Saturday saw Stephens make his first league start as a Silkmen player as Neil and Danny made three changes to the side that lost to Northampton in midweek; and Neil admitted he was pleased with what he saw.

“We wanted Ben Stephens to get on the ball, we wanted him to help try and create chances for the other strikers which he did do very well, and we came within a couple of inches of taking the lead after 80 minutes.

“The lads that came in to the side tried to do enough to keep their place and become regulars, whilst the ones who were lucky enough to start after Tuesday night, it was up to them to grab that chance.”

Despite losing the game, Neil admitted that the performance was considerably better than against Northampton, but it was difficult to take many positives after slipping to another defeat.

“We had to apologise on Tuesday for the performance, but I don’t feel like we have to apologise today.

“We’ve done a lot of good things, a lot of right things but ultimately, we have lost again, and we have not kept a clean sheet again and it’s something that hurts after a horrendous week.

“It’s difficult to take positives out of it even though I thought there was only going to be one team to win it as the second half progressed.

“There were definitely improvements from Tuesday night. But you can’t be pleased when you are in the position that we are in with another defeat.”

However, Neil insisted that the players would be fully focussed going into the game against Bury next weekend and admits to seeing an improvement in the player’s attitudes after the defeat to Northampton.

“I think the effort, the attitude and the application they have shown this week was good, which I’m not going to stand here and say well done for doing the right things, they didn’t do it on Tuesday night and that’s a fact.

“There’s no hiding place, they’re not denying that they didn’t, but they did everything they should have done today to get a result, and we’ve not got that result but that’s the minimum, attitude and energy and desire.

“I’m not going to stand here and say we are trying to take positives out of the situation, but we are going into a game now on Saturday where, after having a good chat with the lads there, they are going to be in the right frame of mind going into Saturday.”

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