Although first-team boss John Coughlin admits he takes responsibility for the ‘Gers’ disappointing 4-2 defeat to Elgin City last weekend, the gaffer has also revealed that he was he was left disenchanted by his team’s performance.
“Disappointed probably isn’t a strong enough word to describe my feelings. The goals we lost were so soft. It felt amateur, and whilst that’s a strong term to use, at times it was absolutely ridiculous.
“For a side that’s conceded something like 4 goals in our last 12 games to be losing the variety of goals that we are just now is unacceptable. We’re seeing mistakes from players who are normally very safe, very confident and very competent in their roles. At the minute we look a nervous wreck.”
Although Coughlin’s side were well-beaten on the day, the boss does acknowledge his belief that a last-minute change didn’t help his team’s cause, the Berwick boss losing midfielder Michael McKenna to injury on the morning of the game.
“We went into the game without Michael and that was a blow to me. I knew it’d present a problem because Elgin always field a powerful side, home or away. To compete with that you need your strongest and most athletic players out on the park.
“But ultimately, I have to take the blame for Saturday. We’d changed the systems over the last couple of weeks to play with a more attacking style, and that hasn’t worked. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s been an abject failure.”
Coughlin’s admission of the failure to implement a new system leaves the ‘Gers looking likely to shake things up this coming weekend against Cowdenbeath as he seeks to find improvement from his squad, and the Berwick boss made no secret of his intention of doing exactly that at Central Park.
“I had hoped that the players would enjoy having a higher percentage of the ball and to try to pass it through the team. I expressed that wish to the players, but we’ve not succeeded in either.
“We’ve not looked confident in possession and that’s a disappointment for me. I’d been trying to find a system that allows us to employ attacking players because I’m of the view that if we’re going to do anything noteworthy this season we’ve got to score goals.
“I want the likes of Greg Hurst, Darren Lavery, Jordyn Sheerin, Steven Thomson and Michael McKenna all to be playing at the same time, but that has unfortunately cost us in the last couple of weeks.
“Most of our positives have actually came from the attacking areas, but unfortunately the negatives at the moment are about how we’re defending as a team. We look as though we have a goal in us, but we need to work on the way we’re defending just now.
“So it is something that I’m going to have to take a look at altering. It might be that some players are going to be disappointed because they simply don’t fit into what we’re going to have to do, but the results and performances so far have dictated that this has to happen.”
With fresh injury concerns for Coughlin to worry about, he also revealed he is still keeping an eye on the market for another addition to the squad – although it isn’t entirely guaranteed that logistics will allow for it.
“Ben Stirling got injured in training with Hibernian on Monday. We’re still missing Sean Mackie’s services, and Barry Hogg has also been ruled out.
“I think we’ve done a good bit of business in getting Greg, but whether we can add to that with another one or two is a big question. But we’re paper-thin at the minute so that’s what I’d be looking to do.