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Caldwell Reacts to Oxford Defeat

25 February 2017

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Gary Caldwell said that his team needed to apologise to the Spireites supporters, after the 4-0 defeat to Oxford United at the Proact.

The manager was not happy after the match, and felt the team contributed to their own downfall. He told Spireites Player HD: “I think we should apologise to the fans really, it’s unacceptable in so many ways.

“For 20 minutes we had good opportunities in the game and the game was very open. I think they gambled and we had the opportunities to get in the lead and didn’t take them.

“And then we proceeded to get worse. We shot ourselves in the foot, time after time we made bad decisions and gave bad goals away and that’s unacceptable.”

Caldwell kept faith with the same starting XI that gained a point at Millwall in midweek, but any thoughts he had of the team showing the same level of performance were quickly undone, thanks to Rob Hall’s 17th minute opener.

“We knew Reece [Mitchell] and Liam [Grimshaw] could play off the back of their wide men who didn’t want to track them back,” Caldwell explained. 

“We then had Dan [Gardner] and Angel sliding over to be a strong defensive base, and we shoot ourselves in the foot with the first goal with bad defending. The second is a great goal from the edge of the box.

“I said that in the second half I wanted to see if we were up for the fight but we weren’t. We got worse and hid in our shells, nobody wanted to take responsibility and you can’t do that as a footballer.

“You have to be brave and you have to keep playing. There was nothing about us second half and I’ve said that to the players. This place needs to change quickly, we can’t turn up for two days, play well against Millwall and switch off the way we do and not turn up to fight on a Saturday.”

Conor McAleny’s hat-trick then sealed what was a very comfortable win for the U’s, and Caldwell has challenged his players to show their worth before Tuesday’s match at Walsall.

He said: “Football’s a tough game, you have to play, train, recover, live right and turn up every day with a really strong mentality and desire for the game, and we don’t have enough players like that.

“The players have to have a look at themselves, they have to improve and have a better resilience about themselves as an individual and as a group, because it’s gone on for too long at this club.”

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