Defend as a team, urges McConnell

SHOWING PASSION: Defender Barry McConnell

SHOWING PASSION: Defender Barry McConnell

First published in Sport by

DEFENDING better as a team is the key to turning the Terras’ fortunes around, according to Barry McConnell.

The right-back has 17 years of experience in the professional and semi-professional game and reckons the players only have themselves to blame for their poor start to the season.

Weymouth currently sit fourth-bottom in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division having tasted victory just once in 10 league outings – a statistic that riles McConnell, who is adamant they should be doing a whole lot better.

Speaking to Echosport, the passionate defender said: “As a team and a group of players we are not playing to our potential – definitely not.

“It has nothing to do with management because it is the players that are responsible for it.

“We have been playing okay but not been getting results and at the end of the day it is all about results.

“As a team we need to start pulling our fingers out.”

The Terras have netted 23 goals in just 14 games in all competitions so far this season but at the same time have conceded 24.

Going on to comment on his side’s defensive failings, McConnell added: “When you are on top in games you have to take your chances and on occasions we haven’t done that but I don’t believe that is our main problem.

“In order to be successful in any team, first and foremost, you cannot concede goals.

“Good defending comes from a team, not individuals, and as a team we haven’t been defending well enough and I am a part of that just like anyone else.

“Most of the time the team that wins the league is the one that concedes the least. They may not score the most but they concede the least, and it is clear we need to become a lot harder to beat.

“A goal can start from anywhere on the pitch and as a team we need to start taking more responsibility.

“No one goes out there to concede goals on purpose but it is something that needs to be addressed and addressed now.

“We have scored three goals at home in two league games this season and won neither of them.

“You don’t need any more evidence than that to see where our problem lies.”

Weymouth’s disappointing start has heralded much criticism on the terraces and McConnell has nothing but sympathy for the fans, who he believes deserve a lot better.

“People that didn’t go to Bedworth United last Saturday will see a 2-0 defeat and just listen to what is said about it,” said the 35-year-old. “We played okay and created chances but at the end of the day we lost and that is all that matters to them.

“Fans just want to see results and I totally understand that.

“Weymouth is a big club in non-League terms and I know where it has been.

“On the opening day of the season we had 900 people at the ground but since then it has dropped because most people are only interested in watching a winning side.

“Once again as a team we need to address that. This is a good club with good people running it, and although we are a fairly new group of players we have more than enough experience to sort it out – it is as simple as that.”

McConnell won the title with Truro City back in 2010-11 so he knows exactly what it takes to be successful at this level.

Summing things up, he said: “When I first went to Truro, we all felt we would win the league in our first season but we didn’t and ended up finishing 14th.

“The very same group of players then went on to win the title the very next year, so things can turn around in time.

“As a group of players, we are not happy at the moment and we know we are under performing.

“We have had a good talk about it this week and hopefully we can now put a stop to it. One thing is for sure and that is we are certainly a much better side than our current position suggests.”

* Kettering Town’s Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division clash with Bideford today has been postponed.

The Poppies have been left without any electricity at Nene Park after a dispute with their energy supplier.

* Truro City face expulsion from the Blue Square Bet South after a last-ditch rescue bid failed. Today’s game at home to Dover Athletic has been called off by the league.

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