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Graham Coughlan questions players’ hunger and desire in Barrow loss

23 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Newport County manager Graham Coughlan. Photo Barrington Coombs/PA Wire.

Newport manager Graham Coughlan was bitterly disappointed with his players.

With the chances of a late surge from mid-table into the play-off picture slimming, he questioned the desire they showed on a day when rolled-up sleeves, grit and determination were paramount.

“I feel awful after that game,” moaned the Exiles boss. “We probably got what we deserved out of it. The most disappointing part for me was the lack of hunger and the lack of desire to go and win a game of football.

“If you want to get into the top 10 you’ve got to show a lot more hunger than that, you’ve got to win your battles and your individual duels and we didn’t win enough of them today, in terms of first contacts and second balls. There were too many players having an off day and that’s probably the main contributor to losing the game.

“The conditions were awful, for both teams, it was a really difficult day, I get that, but conditions shouldn’t have anything to do with desire, work-rate, attitude and commitment, and this group has it in abundance, but we didn’t display it today.

“The conditions meant we couldn’t get out in the first half and we had no platform to get up the pitch. Then in the second half we were in the ascendancy with the conditions but when we wanted those moments we just didn’t have enough quality to go and open the opposition up.

“We had a couple of chances, but they were few and far between. We needed to do more to win the game today and we didn’t. That’s what’s annoying me at this moment in time.”

Barrow boss Pete Wild hailed his players’ professional performance after they grafted to victory.

The Bluebirds made it five unbeaten, courtesy of Cole Stockton’s 20th-minute goal, but remain in sixth place in League Two.

Wild admitted his only negative was that they did not add to Stockton’s goal in a game played in treacherous gales.

“That was a big win,” he said. “I’ve been really impressed with Newport and how they go about their business. We knew we had to try to match their intensity early on and I thought we did that.

“Having the conditions with us in the first half and scoring so early on was really pleasing. I was just frustrated that we didn’t carry that momentum on to half-time and to go in only 1-0 up was a bit annoying really.

“But we came out in the second half and with the way they’ve dealt with the conditions, and the way they’ve kept Newport at bay, it was a really professional performance.

“We’ve had two or three really big opportunities and we haven’t taken them, that’s the most frustrating thing but in the end they’ve dealt with it so well and I’m pleased to get over the line today.

“The experience we’ve got in the back line was vital, they dealt with the conditions well, especially in the second half. We showed real character against a team that have been really good.

“As I say, the only frustrating thing was that we haven’t taken more of our chances but I thought the way we controlled the game, especially in the last 15 minutes, was excellent.”

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