If Cork City's defending doesn't improve at Dundalk they'll be in serious trouble

If Cork City's defending doesn't improve at Dundalk they'll be in serious trouble
Ronan Couglan of Sligo Rovers shoots to score despite the efforts of Alan Bennett of Cork City. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

WHILE last Friday’s 4-2 home defeat to Sligo Rovers might have been put down to jitters under a new boss, head coach Neale Fenn was in no mood to sugarcoat Monday’s 2-1 loss to Waterford at Turner’s Cross.

Having led through Dáire O’Connor’s opener in the 25th minute, City wasted opportunities to push further ahead and were caught with goals from Waterford’s Maxim Kouogun and Walter Figueira in the 82nd and 91st minutes respectively.

Coming into the job, Fenn had accepted that City were where they are in the table for a reason, but even he was surprised with how the game was allowed to slip.

“They were shocking goals,” he said.

“What can you do? They’re the players that are there, the lads that are fit and available, so you play them.

“You try to put a little bit of structure on it, we’re not asking them to do anything they’re not there to do.

“We’re not asking them to do anything mad, they’re there to defend, mark people in the box, made tackles, head the ball clear, challenge, battle. As you could see on Monday, they didn’t.”

City remain seven points ahead Finn Harps, though relegation is a fear and Fenn knows that things must improve, especially with a trip to face league leaders Dundalk tomorrow night.

“The lads are where they are in the league because of whatever reason,” he said.

“Whether it’s just they’re not good enough, whether they’re not confident, whether they’re not organised, whether they’re not fit enough – I’m not sure.

“It’s been hard for me to assess it, we’ve only had two training sessions really since I’ve got here, so it’s been tough trying to do any sort of shape. It’s been a little bit difficult with the games coming thick and fast, but you wouldn’t even teach basic stuff like that – mark someone in the box so they can’t head it – that’s standard stuff.”

While there were signs of good play, City lacked the finishing touch in the second half despite creating a number of chances.

“We need to be better in the opposition’s box, too,” Fenn said.

“How many chances did we have? Some one of those has got to go in, we have to be more clinical and kill the game off.

“Having said that, you should be good enough and have enough quality and experience to win a game 1-0 and we didn’t.

“In every game, you’re going to have a dominant spell. You just need to win the game 1-0. You miss chances, that happens, the keeper makes saves, that happens – just keep a clean sheet, just defend.

“Stop the cross originally, mark the man in the box and they don’t score. The second one, don’t give the ball away 30 yards out from goal, don’t dive into a challenge and you don’t concede.

“As much as we had pressure and had chances, that’s great, but just win the game 1-0 and see it out.”

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