'Silky soccer' in short supply in Sky Bet League Two says York City manager Nigel Worthington (From York Press)
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'Silky soccer' in short supply in Sky Bet League Two says York City manager Nigel Worthington
YORK City boss Nigel Worthington believes League Two is no place for “silky soccer” after seeing his team fight out a drab 0-0 home draw with Hartlepool.
Neither goalkeeper made a save during Saturday’s ugly Bootham Crescent clash, but Worthington hailed the resilience that helped his team earn a point at the final whistle.
The City chief said: “The game was a scrap from start to finish – a real, real battle and, in League Two, you will get that. You don’t get silky soccer like you might in the Premier League and, sometimes, even that’s a bit scrappy too.
“If we were able to play great football and pick up points in all 46 League games then I don’t think we would be operating at this level but we have good, honest players giving their all and that’s all I can ask for. I was delighted with the commitment and overall strength of the team and the way we defended resiliently as a group to keep a clean sheet.
“Hartlepool have dropped out of the division above and, even though they’ve had a slow start, you cannot underestimate anybody.”
The result represented a third successive game without a goal for Worthington’s men, however, with the former Northern Ireland boss calling for better quality in the final third of the pitch.
“We need a bit more composure in and around the opposition’s 18-yard box,” he added.
“Sometimes, we were trying to force our crosses and shots instead of taking that extra pass to try to open things up a little bit.
“We want to be creating more chances and that’s a collective thing that we are aware of. We didn’t create too many (on Saturday) but we have been doing and it’s something we have to keep working on.
“We just need to get people in the box and, without having a go at individuals, we need to drive at the opposition’s full-backs and put some crosses in. At set-pieces, we’ve also got five or six bodies who need to be busting a gut to get on the end of the deliveries.
“The ball won’t just land on your head – you have to go and find it.”
Having employed a 4-3-3 formation against Hartlepool, Worthington also insisted that the switch from 4-4-2 did not further diminish his team’s attacking potential, saying: “It’s got nothing to do with the system. We lined up the same way at the end of last season and scored goals.”
But Worthington added the tactical change was intended to shore up the side defensively.
“We just needed to tighten things up,” he reasoned. “No matter how good a Championship club Burnley are, we conceded four against them and then another two at Dagenham so we had a little look at Pars (Dan Parslow) in front of the back four again and, as he always does, I thought he played that role exceptionally well.”
Teenager Tom Allan, meanwhile, has been challenged to lay his claim to a permanent place having been handed his first taste of senior action this season against Hartlepool.
Allan replaced David McGurk in the starting line-up on Saturday and, with the latter due to be out until next month with a hamstring problem, Worthington said: “Young Tom grew into the game and got better and stronger as it went on.
“I have a lot of faith in him. He’s had a couple of half-opportunities at centre-back in the past but he will get a few games now and, if he can put a good run of performances together, the door will open for him to hold a place down.
“I love to give young players opportunities and see them develop and grow. David McGurk has tweaked a hamstring and will be out for two to three weeks but that means opportunity knocks and, if Tom can carry on as he did on Saturday, he can do well.”
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