Kevin Blackwell on the Crawley defeat and looking forward to Portsmouth
“I had to apologise to the fans after Saturday’s game. That was the worst I have seen from us. We’ve played some terrific football this season, we’ve beaten some of the top teams and then we go into that game full of confidence and we put out an abject display like that. My only fear now is that I hope that they are not freezing at home now. It’s on my mind that having beaten Swindon away, they can’t handle the expectation at home.
They have to be able to handle the expectation from myself and from the fans. For me though, the frustration has been there since I came here. I know how good this club can be and for one reason or another, we keep shooting ourselves in the foot, both on and off the pitch.
As the manager, it does make it difficult. We go out with a team that we fully expect to do the business and it doesn’t quite happen, or with embargoes and things that make it very difficult. The frustration from my view is echoed by the fans, it has been a frustrating year.
It’s the home games that we want them to perform. I wish we could show the home fans how we performed at Swindon. In the last week or two, we’ve not looked affective at home, but before that we’ve been unlucky at home. I’ve told the players before we travel that we are away from home, and to go and do what they have been doing.
I was very frustrated after Saturday’s game when I went to speak to the press. I never saw that coming, we had been magnificent at Swindon three days earlier. I was at a loss to explain it. That performance came out of nowhere. The fans that went to Swindon must have left here on Saturday wondering where that came from.
It wasn’t one thing in the performance, it was everything. Apart from Craig Fagan, everybody did not perform at the level that I know they are capable of performing at. That’s the frustrating thing. They went into the game full of confidence, and why not, we had just beaten top of the table on their own ground, and done it in some style as well. Swindon was no fluke; it was 70 or 80 minutes before they had a shot on target, that’s how well structured we were.
The ability is here, we need that consistency and the ability to perform week in week out. Sometimes there is nothing more as a manager that you can do than send your team out and hope that they can perform. They were two avoidable goals again. We are beating ourselves, it’s not the opposition, we are doing this ourselves. . We showed them Crawley’s second goal on the Friday, they knew it was coming yet there it was.
These lads will not give up, they were frustrated themselves and they knew at the end of the game that they had not performed. Everyone has a bad day at the office at some point. When you work in an office, nobody knows that you’ve had a bad day at the office; it’s very unusual that the whole office has a very bad day, but on Saturday – the whole office did have a bad day. We just have to put that into the box and move on from there. I can clearly say that it was the worst performance since I have been here. We haven’t had that many bad performances, unlucky yes or maybe things not going our way.
We have to roll our sleeves up and get a response. I asked for a response after the Notts County game and we got it with the win at Swindon. Now after that Crawley performance, I am asking for a response again. We have to keep doing that all season.
Portsmouth won their first game in ages this week, but we have to take each game as it comes. We have to focus on ourselves; clearly we have to focus on ourselves. When we do that, we are good. When we start worrying about other things, it does affect us. Just focus on what we are doing. We’ve been very good away from home, we’ve been outstanding. If our home form matched our away form, we’d be quite comfortable. We are doing very well on the road and we want to hopefully keep that going.
It’s a real six pointer; they are all massive games now. This is the month that we have the chance to get out of it. All the way through it has been about trying to get to the point where we can get out of it. That’s now.”
Watch the full video interview on Shakers Player