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Nigel Worthington slams York City display as sloppy and not ‘honest’
YORK City manager Nigel Worthington compared the standard of his team’s defending to that of a Sunday morning pub side following a 2-0 home defeat to AFC Wimbledon.
On-loan Charlton striker Michael Smith profited from City’s sloppiness on Saturday to score a goal in each half for the Dons.
His brace means the Minstermen have now shipped 13 goals during their first seven games of the new season despite opening their campaign with a 1-0 home victory over Northampton.
Worthington’s side have not won since that fixture and now lie 22nd in the League Two standings with the City chief saying: “We got off to a good start against Northampton and I don’t know if people’s feet came off the ground after that match.
“You never really concede a good goal but, since Northampton, the ones we have been conceding have been very, very poor. We’ve talked about it over the last month but it’s still happening and, as a team, we have got to be more proactive and eliminate that.
“You wouldn’t be happy if you saw the goals we conceded against Wimbledon on a Sunday morning parks’ pitch.”
Worthington went on to admit he could not draw any positives from the display, which saw his team booed off by certain sections of the Bootham Crescent crowd.
He said: “There was no fluency in our play, we were sloppy, second best all over the pitch and did not win our individual battles so there were no positives at all. To be honest and straight-forward, it was not good enough.
“The fans come to support their local team and we get fantastic support home and away. It is only right, therefore, that we give a good, honest performance week in, week out as part of the repayment for their support, but that wasn’t an honest performance.”
Despite a concerning start to the campaign, Worthington is adamant, however, the club will not become embroiled in another relegation dogfight, having only secured Football League safety on the final day of last season.
“The second half of last season was tough and we don’t want to be in that position again – no way,” he insisted.
“As manager, coaches and players, we have all got to roll our sleeves up, dig deep and make things happen. I feel at times we are waiting for something to happen but, if you wait in this game, nothing ever does.”
Worthington added his players have to be psychologically ready to transfer the potential they display on the training pitch into the first-team arena.
“You have to be strong if you are going to be out there,” he stressed. “There is no room for weakness.
“People can try and shy away but there are no places to hide. Everyone has to stand up and be counted.
“We’ve had three defeats in a row, which isn’t a nice situation and we’ve got to bounce back as soon as possible with a good result. The players have got to go out there with the character and the courage they possess.
“I have told them I am seeing two different groups at the moment. There’s the group I see in training which is as good as anything else in the League but, when it comes to matchday, I am seeing a different group.
“You have to hold your nerve when it comes to a Saturday afternoon and have the mental strength to carry out what has been worked on during the course of the week.”
Worthington also pointed out that it will largely be down to his current squad of players to get the season moving in the right direction.
The transfer window for permanent signings is now closed until January and City already have four loan players on their books with only five permitted in a matchday squad.
Unattached players could be an option but the City chief said: “I've not got £10 million to spend and I can’t bring another 15 players in, so this group have got to stick together and keep working.
“It will be nice to get Wes Fletcher, Ryan Bowman, Richard Cresswell and David McGurk back. They would be plusses but injuries are part and parcel of the game.
“When they happen, it opens the door for others but, at the moment, people aren’t taking those opportunities.”
Ryan Jarvis will not be joining his crocked team-mates on the sidelines despite spending 21 minutes of Saturday’s first half receiving stitches for two separate cuts to his head.
City boss Worthington did not feel that disruption contributed to his team’s display with Dons defender Andy Frampton also receiving lengthy treatment following the second aerial clash before joining Jarvis back on the pitch after the break.
“There are no excuses,” Worthington said. “We survived without Ryan Jarvis on the pitch and didn’t concede a goal when we were down to ten men.”
The City manager was more bothered by his team’s failure to give on-loan Charlton striker Smith an uncomfortable afternoon, saying: “Ryan Jarvis had stitches on either side of his head but their striker Smith got away scot-free.
“We have got to be more rough, ready and manly as a group of players.”
Sander Puri did return to action for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury during the 4-0 Capital One Cup defeat to Burnley and has now joined up with Estonia for their World Cup qualifier in Hungary tomorrow night.
“It was good to get him back,” Worthington said. “He’s got a game under his belt and got through it so he will join up with Estonia in Hungary now.”
• City have been drawn at home to Rotherham in the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. The tie will take place during the week starting Monday, October 7.
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