Steve McNulty gives honest assessment of Bootle form as Bucks boss makes promise 

Bootle manager Steve McNulty vs Kidsgrove

Bootle manager Steve McNulty says his side have to reset and go ‘back to basics’ after their miserable run continued.

Hanley Town became the latest side to pile misery on the Bucks as they ran out 4-1 winners at the Berry Street Garage Stadium.

As a result, it was a fifth straight defeat for the former defender as his worst run of form since taking over continued.

“I thought it was poor all round, I said before the game that we need to be better in both boxes, creating chances and we need to stop conceding goals because we’re shipping too many goals, not scoring at the minute either so it’s a bad combination,” he said reflecting on the defeat to Off The Park.

“What happens in between the boxes doesn’t really matter, you’ve got to defend your box better and score goals, confidence is a bit low at the minute.

“If you speak to the lads, they’ll say they’re on the floor, confidence is low and the only way to sort that out and that’s to get the next win. When we get that, that’ll give everyone a lift and we’ll be fine but it’s just putting our finger on it to get the next win.

“It was the same again, we haven’t been in front in a game for a long time, if we go in front it gives you something to hang on to and make you a completely different side,” he continued. “People are making individual errors and that’s something you can’t coach, that comes with not playing with confidence, little things you’re doing are going against you then we seem to sink into our shell.

“But I just think it’s a matter of resetting, press the reset button, get back to basics, let’s give them clear messages and let’s get going again.”

For McNulty it’s been his worse run since taking his first steps in football management, in recent weeks, he has tasted the agony of the role with last weekend’s slump the worst result thus far.

Since he took charge, he has tried a number of different systems and formations, more so during their recent sequence.

Delving into the mind of the former defender, he explained the outlook for his side, he added: “I’ve been speaking to everyone, coaches, managers, speaking to everyone.

“I think what happens is you lose a couple of games and then you start tinkering, when I first come we started playing 4-3-3, we got a couple of wins, changed the system a little bit, I just thought we needed to get two up front because our wide three wasn’t natural because we was playing Jack [McGowan] out there, we weren’t getting the best out of who was playing on the other side.

“I thought we’d go back to two up top and one in behind and maybe that didn’t work playing personnel where they’re not comfortable. It’s about getting back to basics.

“I speak to Carl two and three times a day, I’ve been reaching out to other managers and trying to get advice from them to see if it’s me doing stuff wrong,” he continued, describing the conversations behind the scenes with his staff.

“It’s only natural, you lose a few games and then you want to start tinkering and that’s maybe not the right thing to do.

“We’ll pick a formation now, one that me and Carl think will do well moving forward that will get us results and those people playing in those positions they know what we want and expect from them. That’s something we’ve been speaking about and doing going forward.”

Last week saw the arrival of four new faces at Vesty Road taking the number of arrivals to 11 since he took charge.

Explaining the thinking behind the recent additions, the 39-year-old reaffirmed his intention of adding competition for places. “I’ve come in, I’ve had a look at it, we’ve spoke and there’s positions that I thought we needed to strengthen in,” he said.

“As I’ve always said, I want competition for places and that’s the reason why we’ve brought them in, we haven’t just brought them in for the sake of bringing them in. We thought when bringing these players in, they’ve played at a higher level and we think they’re going to improve our team.

However, he conceded: “I don’t know if it’s backfired on the lads there already thinking ’is it someone coming in next who plays in my position?’ It’s something that needs addressing and will be addressed to the lads. As I say, it’s the case of getting that next win.”

This weekend it is a trip to Ribble Valley as they face Colne. Phil Brown’s side go into the clash on the back of their shock 5-0 win over Warrington Rylands in the FA Vase.

The Bucks boss insists they must stick together and regroup but says there is quality within the squad to turn the tide.

He said: “You can’t look past your next game, there’s no easy games in this league and we know that. We’ve had them watched and we know what they’re about, we’ll give the lads the information they need.

“I think it’s a matter of looking after ourselves at this present time, pressing the reset button, going back to basics, start worrying about ourselves, we stop conceding goals and we need to start creating chances.

“There’s plenty of ability in that dressing room, we need to use it, give them the messages. I come out Saturday and didn’t think they were fit enough, I stand by that, but that might not be down to the lads, they missed a large part of pre-season.

“That’s something we’ll have to help them with, you come out and everything’s a bit raw after the game but I’ll always be honest and look at myself in the mirror before I start pointing fingers at anyone else but we just need to regroup, get ourselves back together and we’ll be fine.”

He continued to praise the support from the Bootle fans in recent weeks after the supporters professed their unity and backing for the manager on social media. He added: “I support Everton and I have an opinion on them, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, they pay their hard earned money and since I’ve come in they’ve been great supporting the lads.

“They go home and away and it’s only us in that dressing room that can change that [results], times like this you’ve got to stick together. We need the characters in the dressing room to come out, stand up and be counted and we need to be counted as a management team.

“We will do, we’ll get the lads together and go again, there’s only us who can go out and change results, we’ll be working hard to do that and get the next win.”

[Featured image: Paul Moran]

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