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York City chief issues hard-hitting verdict after 2-0 Vale defeat
YORK City manager Nigel Worthington has demanded that underperforming players must stop short-changing supporters and show a willingness to keep the club in the Football League.
The 19th-placed Minstermen have now gone 14 games without a win following Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat to Port Vale with the five teams below them all just a single point behind.
Of that group, Accrington Stanley, Plymouth, Torquay and Barnet will all play their game in hand on City tomorrow night, meaning the club’s situation could worsen prior to Saturday’s crucial trip to Torquay.
And Worthington made it clear that he will not accept any more displays like the one against promotion hopefuls Vale during the final seven games of the season, saying: “It’s a man’s game and Saturday looked like boys against men.
“People are paying their hard-earned money coming to support the team and what they got back was simply not good enough. If I said anything else, everybody would think I was off my rocker.
“I’ve been in the game long enough to know when I am getting sold short and when players are not performing. It’s a big test and it will be interesting to see who stands up to it.
“We need self-belief and a willingness, which is probably at the top of the list, to keep York City in the League. A lot of players are out of contract in the summer and maybe it’s easy for them to under-perform and walk away and not worry about where York City will be next season but that’s not good enough.
“They are getting paid by this club and by the supporters. They have got to repay that with results.”
As well as sympathising with distressed supporters, Worthington added that he felt for the McGill family, arguing that the club owners’ commitment to the cause deserved to be matched by the team.
“They have put a lot of time, commitment and finances into the football club,” he pointed out.
“I’ve told the players I can live with a defeat as long as I see commitment, passion and a willingness to try to win the game but none of those words came into play (on Saturday).”
Worthington did add, however, that the defeat against Port Vale had revealed a lot about his inherited squad during his third game in charge – two of which have ended in defeat either side of a 0-0 draw against Rochdale.
He said: “The performance was not good enough from minute one to minute 90 but I am learning all the time about the players and I learned a hell of a lot about their character and make-up from that game.
“I’m starting to understand why they are in the position they are in but I can’t go out and sign a Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Patrice Evra or Paul Scholes and what we have in that dressing room has got to pull together to get us out of the situation we find ourselves in.
“Before you know it, it will be the last game of the season so whatever we are going to do needs to be done in the right manner sharpish. We need strong characters and leaders in the dressing room and we will now find out whether we have got them.
“It’s a fantastic challenge and I am up for it but I don’t think there’s ever been one person that can do it on their own.”
Worthington also dismissed any suggestions that Saturday’s loss could be attributed to the 4-4-2 formation he has fielded during the last two game.
His predecessor Gary Mills played 4-3-3 for almost the entirety of his two-and-a-half year reign but Worthington stressed: “Football is a simple game – you pass the ball and keep it.
“You pass and then move but I was looking at some of the players (on Saturday) and there was no energy in their legs. They were struggling to run.
“Yes, the pitch was heavy but it was heavy for Port Vale as well. I saw white shirts getting to the ball in the penalty box before red ones and that’s nothing to do with formations – it’s about mental strength and we looked short of that.
“But I cannot go out and buy bags of that either. We’ve got to find it in the coming weeks to get us out of this predicament.”
On-loan Ipswich Town winger Josh Carson was given his full debut against Vale and even finished the match at left-back after a struggling Jamal Fyfield was withdrawn.
Worthington added that he would also consider playing the Northern Ireland international at full-back again if needs must.
On Carson’s performance, the City boss said: “He kept going and, when he went to left-back, he did quite well. He was nice and steady but we’ve got to get the ball to him and we’ve also got to get it out to Ash Chambers and Matty Blair to give ourselves a fighting chance but some of the decision-making was horrendous.
Tomorrow’s games: Accrington v AFC Wimbledon, Southend v Plymouth, Torquay v Chesterfield, Barnet v Fleetwood.