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Must defend better

Rearguard needs improvement, says Ardley

1 December 2019

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Neal Ardley stressed the importance of improving our defensive record following our 3-1 defeat at Northampton on Sunday.

Despite causing problems for the League Two side for much of the Emirates FA Cup second-round tie, we conceded goals that disappointed the boss prior to Kristian Dennis’ consolation.

And Ardley says everyone has to take responsibility for the amount we’ve let in lately.

“As a team we have to be better defensively,” he urged. “It’s twos and threes regularly and that has to change.

“We’re getting lots wrong and getting punished for it, so we need to cut the mistakes out and make it harder for teams to get at us.

“We have to address that because our attacking play has been good but we need to start keeping clean sheets and tidy things up so we don’t need to score two or three to get something from a game.”

Our attacking play was good at the PTS Academy Stadium, with plenty of chances created, but we were chasing the tie from the opening moments due to a defensive lapse, which frustrated Ardley.

“We knew we had to bring our ‘A’ game and defend our box properly to get anything, but straight away we conceded because a player didn’t execute,” he said.

“It’s frustrating because we thought the players were well drilled and losing focus so early on leaves you chasing the tie.

“From there it became about chances and the boxes. Between them, there wasn’t much in it but we weren’t ruthless enough in theirs and haven’t been doing well enough in ours.

“The players know they let themselves down. The effort was there but the focus wasn’t and I’m disappointed for the fans that we spent so long chasing the game and didn't make it enough of a cup tie.”

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