COLERAINE manager Rodney McAree was left disappointed with his side’s exploits as they slumped to a 4-1 defeat to Glenavon at The Showgrounds…
The Bannsiders had taken the lead through Aaron Burns’ well taken header but fell behind within a minute as Rhys Marshall and Stephen Murray pounced from close range.
Despite a strong start to the second-half, the Stripes were undone as Murray bagged a hat-trick as Coleraine suffered their first league defeat in 32 games.
“The better and hungrier team won,” McAree said.
“Glenavon asked the most questions and we could have maybe gone in further behind at half-time. We probably scored our goal against the run of play but to be fair it was great work by Darren McCauley and a good header by Aaron Burns.
“You find yourselves 1-0 up and we probably didn’t manage the game well enough. The first goal was a poor one to concede and we could have done better with it. The second comes straight from the kick-off so it’s a case of we make a poor decision in the centre of the park and the ball ends up in the back of the net.
“I thought for the first 15 minutes of the second-half we were very good. We played higher up the park, we were brave and we managed to win more headers and more territory. I thought we were going to equalise at that stage but again it’s a poor decision that kills us.
“We should put the ball into the box for their third goal and we try to be clever and it ends up at the other end of the pitch on the counter and the games dead and buried at 3-1 down.
“Glenavon have the capabilities of doing that, they have a lot of energy in their team and they are scoring a lot of goals against the top teams.”
McAree congratulated the players for their long unbeaten run but has now urged them to kick-on in all competitions, as well as praising Alexander Gawne for his contribution from the bench.
“I said to the players that they had to be congratulated for their long, unbeaten run,” he added.
“Now that’s off our back, we have to pick ourselves up as quickly as possible.
“Our next game is in the Irn-Bru Cup and it gives us a chance to get away as a group and spend a little bit of time together and focus on another tournament.
“We have to make sure that we are ready to go when we get back to the Premiership.
“It’s a start of a new era for me because you have to pick the players up and the players within the team need to realise that it’s about working hard collectively.
“I think when you bring young Alexander Gawne on the pitch for the last 20 minutes, I thought his performance was exceptional and he sets the barrier for everyone else in terms of the effort that needs to be put in.”
The manager believes the Bannsiders have put in too many ‘so-so performances’ so far this season and has challenged them to forget last season’s exploits.
“It’s important that we forget last season and to be honest our performances haven’t been good all season,” McAree concluded.
“There have been too many so-so performances and we need to realise where we are.
“We need to understand that we need to up our performances by a significant amount if we are to do anything.
“I think certain individuals can do more and there is a little bit of feeling sorry for ourselves throughout the team. They have to understand they have to put more effort in and that’s the disappointing thing.”