‘Chasing’ U’s desperate to return to winning ways
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Colchester United are no longer being ‘chased.’ They are now the ‘chasers’ again, which manager John McGreal hopes will reignite their season.
The U’s have dropped out of the top three, and now out of the top seven, after a poor sequence of results since the heart-warming 1-0 win at second-placed MK Dons before Christmas.
Just one point has been gathered from the last three fixtures, a 2-1 home defeat to Stevenage on Saturday being followed by a dour goalless home draw against Morecambe and then a desperately disappointing 2-0 defeat at 10-man Crawley Town on New Year’s Day.
That sequence of results has seen the U’s dip to eighth spot, out of the play-off zone on goal difference but still only three points adrift of the automatic promotion zone.
They need to get back to winning ways, at home to relegation-haunted Notts County tomorrow.
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“We have got to pick ourselves up,” insisted McGreal.
“Sometimes players can get carried away, and it’s only three points lost or won each match.
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“We have not been able to get a win after MK Dons, and we need to change the mentality of certain individuals at times.
“We want to try and achieve, and maybe they have not able to handle the pressure?
“Now we are back to chasing, rather than being chased, and I’ve got to look at one or two of the individual performances.
“It’s not that we don’t have players who are not used to being up there – we have certain players who have been promoted in the past,” added McGreal.
McGreal will not rest on his laurels, if the U’s don’t manage to shake themselves out of this current rut.
In fact, it is the poorest mini-run of league results this season – before this last trio of games, the smallest haul accrued from a three-game period was three points. In other words, they had not gone three league games without a win all campaign.
“Things will have to change, as simple as,” continued McGreal.
“Thing have to change. I am here to improve the club. I love the club, and we feel as though we have been improving it.
“If one or two players are going to put in performances like that (at Crawley), then maybe they won’t be here from now on.
“January is already here, signings can be made and players can go if they choose to go.
“I think it’s got a little bit too comfy for one or two players, and I think we’ve got to light a bit of fire up the backside.
“Yet I think we have got a fantastic squad, and I don’t think we need reinforcements.
“We’ve got a great squad, but it’s just finding a way to win a game of football at this moment in time.
“It’s about different pressures, and boys taking responsibility on the pitch.
“Being in and around that top three, for the last four to six weeks, has perhaps seen us take the eye off the ball.
“That’s what I am hoping it all is, anyway.
“We can’t get carried away with the league.
“We have just got to be careful that we don’t ruin what we’ve done at the moment. We have got to get back to hard work.
“I am not one for making excuses, it’s down to us, that’s the crux of the matter.”
With reference to the New Year’s Day defeat at Crawley, in particular, McGreal slammed his players for their poor second-half display against 10 men.
“I didn’t see what was going to happen in that last hour, did anyone?” said McGreal.
“I just think the second half was really, really poor. We didn’t move the ball around quick enough and we didn’t get enough width in our play. We didn’t create overloads, even with the extra man. There was not enough energy.
“That’s the most disappointed I have been with my players, especially in that second half.
“There was nothing in it. There was nothing where you could go away and try and take the positives out of it.
“Some of the players have to be accountable for what we are, including me and (assistant) Steve (Ball). We are all accountable.
“At times against 10 men we should have had a little thought-process about what to do, and yet I didn’t see that really in the second half. It was really, really disappointing. It’s down to pride in wearing the badge,” added McGreal.
- Aaron Collins’ season-long loan from Wolves was terminated by mutual consent on Wednesday,
“Aaron was on the peripheral a little bit,” admitted McGreal, who is now free to find a replacement with the money freed up by Collins’ exit.