COLERAINE manager Rodney McAree has urged his players to more ruthless in front of goal as missed chances proved costly in last weekend’s draw against Newry City…
The Bannsiders made it four draws in succession at the Newry Showgrounds after a frustrating afternoon against Darren Mullen’s side. Trailing to Declan Carville’s first-half header, the Irish Cup holders responded through Aaron Burns’ finish but they couldn’t find a winner after spurning numerous chances.
Speaking after the game, boss Rodney McAree has challenged the squad to start enjoying their football a little bit more.
“I think we should have went in at half-time at least level,” he said.
“The goal Newry scored was a soft free-kick and whenever the ball came into our box, we didn’t deal with it.
“It’s the same at the other end of the pitch as we don’t do enough to put the ball into the back of the net. I don’t think we are ruthless enough in that area and we need to find that little bit of ruthlessness to take advantage of our opportunities we are getting.
“There seems to be a massive level of frustration within the dressing room and that maybe comes through people putting themselves under too much pressure.
“Coleraine were very unlucky to not win the league last season but at this stage of the season we have to concentrate on playing a game of football, relaxing a wee bit more, be patient and put a bit more focus on enjoying our football.
“I feel as if we are putting ourselves under too much pressure and worrying about expectations.
“We have to be focused on our own jobs and what we are trying to achieve. I think the players need to realise that it’s only September and not be under so much frustration.
“I think the players are frustrated at missing chances and conceding goals like we did against Newry but on another day if you get a rub of the green, then you leave with all three points.
“The same can be applied to the Linfield game, I felt we rode our luck in the first-half against Ballymena but we were very good after the break and at Ards we missed a lot of opportunities.
“I don’t think we are too far away rather than being all down about drawing another game of football.
“They are unbeaten because they deserve to be unbeaten. They deserve to enjoy the success of being unbeaten far so long and that run has to end at some stage, but we have to ensure that doesn’t happen soon and that’s by enjoying our football.
“The players are a honest bunch who give everything they have, they fight tooth and nail for everything, but I’m not sure they are coming off the pitch enjoying football the way I’d like them too.
“I’m not saying it’s a bad thing as it shows the players have a hunger to succeed, but I feel you are at your best as a footballer when you’re relaxed and in control of your emotions.”
The Bannsiders trail league leaders Glenavon by seven points ahead of the two sides meeting this weekend, but McAree insists it is too early to be talking about league titles.
“The game against Newry ended up being too open and from my point of view, it came from players being frustrated at drawing too many games,” he added.
“At the end of the day, you leave here with a point but if you had lost it being gung-ho and losing your discipline, then you’d feel a lot worse.
“You can’t be too down on yourself as if we win next week, then it’s not a bad situation to be in. There’s no league titles handed out in September and you could win the next four games and be right up there, but it’s all about taking each game as it comes.”
McAree was able to give a medical update on four first-team members who missed last weekend’s clash.
“Gareth was on the bench as he wasn’t 100% available but I’m expecting him to be fully fit this weekend,” he concluded.
“Josh Carson is going for a scan on Monday (today) and we hope to get to the bottom of it and see what we are dealing with. Hopefully it’s not too bad but it’s the side of the knee that Josh is worried about.
“Aaron Traynor should be okay as it was only a bit of tightness in the hamstring and Lyndon will soon be running on the treadmill.”