Bootle manager Brian Richardson has issued a message to his players after their 3-1 defeat away to Glossop North End.
The Bucks emphatically saw off relegation-destined Market Drayton Town with a 4-0 win, thanks to Jack McGowan’s hat-trick but followed up by slumping to defeat the Hillmen.
But for the Bootle boss, old habits continue to creep in win as well as losses, something he hopes can be eradicated if they are to improve.
He told Off The Park: “The first 10 minutes we played okay, we knocked it about well. We then started to go long up the slope, which we’re not good at playing that game so let’s not kid ourselves, so why we wanted to play it, you’d have to ask the players.
“We sat deep, we got pushed on and we conceded two goals in our own box due to being too deep. What I want for this group of players is to take on board what they’re getting told and do it because at the moment, we seem to slip into old bad habits on a continual basis and we always feel we’re saying the same things to the same people and it comes a time where a penny has to drop.
“Whether I’ve got a bunch of players intent on just wanting to play their own way or whether or not in the heat of their own battle they go back to old habits, it could be a mixture of the two.
“But at the moment, we don’t feel as though we set a complicated plam, but the basics tends to be ignored when the game starts and that’s something you can afford to do.
“If you’re going to be a better player, you’ve got to learn for your mistakes, although we don’t lose loads and loads of games, you can tell in every game the same mistakes get repeated and that’s not good enough.
“It doesn’t bode well for the future, if you keep making the same mistakes you’re a mug aren’t you? We’ve got to not be mugs, we won’t improve if we don’t keep making the same mistakes.”
Ben Hodkinson added to the rout against Market Drayton and offered a glimmer of hope in midweek with Tom Peterson taking his seasonal tally into double figures.
Richardson felt the performances and opposition were chalk and cheese in comparsion.
He added: “I think the teams were chalk and cheese. Glossop are on a good run and they’re a good side, they’re young, energetic and they’ve got some decent players.
“Market Drayton are struggling so chalk and cheese to a point [performances] but chalk and cheese with the opponent as well.
“Jack [McGowan] scored a hat-trick, he looked pretty lively on Saturday but he’s gone to Florida for a wedding so we were without him [against Glossop] that’s football at this level, sometimes they have to put work and family before football and we will find that in the next couple of weeks. It was disappointing in one spell, on the other side of the coin, the lads got commitments and there’s nothing you can do.”
Dissecting the disappointing trip, Richardson noted: “The third goal was probably badly organised, when we lost the ball in a bad area, one pass left them man for man at the back so that’s disappointing we couldn’t set that up better.
“Disappointing we lost the ball in a good attacking area, really at 2-1 I felt we were coming back into the game and then would’ve backed us to come away with a point I think anything above that – on the balance – probably would’ve been unfair.
“I don’t think we did enough on the night to win comprehensively, we were probably worth a point. When you get a goal like that against you when you’re on the front foot it makes life very difficult.
“I think we conceded two goals at half-time with quite a steep slope, at 2-1 we’ve come back in it, we lost the game on the third undoubtedly which is frustrating because we pointed out at half time to the players that we were doing that on a regular basis.
“They played with two strikers and we didn’t do particularly well against it, we didn’t set ourselves particularly well when the break came and we were isolated with a one-v-one situation, they cashed in.”
With the gap between themselves and the playoffs at 10 points, the former Prescot Cables manager sidestepped talk of making it into the top five.
But there was an insistence that the focus remains on wins and a response is needed against 1874 Northwich this weekend.
I”’ve said last Saturday that we don’t want to talk about them [the playoffs] again,” he continued. “Our job is to win every game we play, the results after that are out of our hands. We’ve got to the best we can for Bootle, to get the best position for Bootle and then see where it takes us.
“To start plotting they can do this, we can do that, it’s just absolute nonsense you’re just wasting energy, just win your games and see where it takes you.
“Good sides always respond well to defeats, you expect a response after you’ve had a bad result, as they will because they’ve had a bad result. It’s about us, it’s always about yourselves not the other team and how you acquit yourselves.
“If you’ve got personal pride, a good side, find it important to make valuable contributions and good performances that’s the response you want.”