Dino Maamria was left ruing another poor first half display following Saturday’s defeat to Cambridge United...
His side were feeling confident and ready for the challenge prior to kick-off following a feel-good win over Newport County to start the year, however, the team got off to a slow start and were duly punished.
“I thought they (Cambridge) fought for their lives, they showed a lot of desire to win the game and unfortunately we didn’t show that. It is very disappointing, we had a big following today and in a big derby game, you can’t perform like that, and we did.
“It has been typical really," Maamria said. "The first half in every game we play away from home we start really poorly. The only game we started well was against Colchester and we ended up winning the game. You can’t go away from home at any place, give two goals away in the first half and give yourself a mountain to climb in the second half.
“For some reason we don’t start games as well as we should do, especially away from home. Like I said, when you concede away from home it always makes it easier for the opposition to manage the tempo of the game and manage their environment.
“I actually thought that the first half an hour, before the goal it was an even game that even though we were comfortable, we didn’t show enough to go and score early doors. That was our plan, to try and go score early and see what they have got.
“The killer goal was the last kick of the first half. From 1-0 down you have a chance to come back in the second half, to go into the dressing room 2-0 down it was always going to be very difficult away from home.”
Eager to kick-on and charge up the table, Maamria admits frustration at his side’s inability to deliver a strong run of positive performances and results.
“We have showed a lack of consistency," Maamria bemoaned. "We have been up and down. We have a great performance, followed by a poor one. What that tells me is we have some players who can’t sustain the level, maybe physically, maybe mentally. It is a transitional period for us and we are 11th for a reason. When we play well, we win games. When we don’t play so well, we don’t win games. We never play badly and win a game. We never nick a result, or scrap a draw without being brilliant. When we are not at 80 percent of our level, we lose games.
“I think it is 11 wins, 11 losses throughout the season so it is something I am finding out about the squad. It is a building process and it is my job to build a team that can go and sustain a winning run. If you want to achieve anything in this league, you need to make sure you back a win with a win and we failed to do that today.
“Looking at our squad, it is quite stretched. We have had a lot of games lately - every couple of days. Preparation has been difficult and I think that physically, we are not strong enough as a squad and as individuals to cope with the load of the Christmas period.
"We produce a brilliant performance at Colchester, not so good against Crewe. A brilliant performance with 10 men against Newport, then not so great today.
“We are losing too easily. It concerns me because I like my teams to show a bit more resilience. On a bad day we want to be scrapping for a draw, at least, but on a bad day currently we are a losing games and that is not good.”
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