FLEETWOOD Town’s players will be “soul-searching” in Scotland this week after a performance branded “totally unacceptable”.
Assistant manager Craig Madden didn’t mince his words after Friday’s 3-1 Highbury defeat by Oldham, saying: “To say that performance was bad is an understatement.”
Town, accompanied by Joey Barton as he continues to train with the club, headed to Glasgow yesterday for a three-day training camp with the words of Madden and Town boss Micky Mellon ringing in their ears after they conceded three first-half goals to their League One visitors.
Madden said: “We need to see a reaction, especially in Scotland. The manager told them some home truths but they must start to understand that what we are trying to do is to help them. Pre-season or not, we can’t go into a season after a performance like that and think we are doing well.
“There’s a lot of work to do and a bit of soul-searching because some of the players thought it was going to be easy (in League Two).
“We’ve had to nail home to them that it will be a tough season. Pre-season is for ironing things out but we are very, very disappointed.”
As for their torment against the Latics, Madden added: “In the first half, we were off the ball and off the pace, and certain players went missing.
“It’s a worry that we keep on giving the ball away and the manner of the goals we gave away was disappointing.
“They were turning our centre-halves so easily and running off our midfielders. OK, the forwards were giving the ball away but you can’t concede goals like that – we didn’t last season.”
At least Madden could take some positives from the second-half improvement, when Andy Mangan scored their first goal in four pre-season outings and Youl Mawene made an encouraging first appearance (see page 39).
Mellon’s No.2 added: “Obviously the manager got stuck into them at half-time and we made two or three changes.
“We got stuck into Oldham and put the ball under pressure. OK, we won the second half but if you are 3-0 down at half-time the game is over.”