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It’s got to be better – Graham Coughlan criticises ‘sloppy’ Newport

24 Feb 2024 2 minute read
Newport County manager Graham Coughlan. Photo Barrington Coombs/PA Wire.

Newport manager Graham Coughlan warned his side they must improve after branding their performance “really poor” as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat at MK Dons.

County conceded three first-half goals at Stadium MK to Dan Kemp, Jack Payne and Alex Gilbey as they slipped to 16th in the League Two table.

Seventh-placed Gillingham are only five points better off, but this defeat was a blow to Newport’s play-off hopes.

Coughlan said: “We didn’t compete. They were better with the ball. We were sloppy and just didn’t come out of the traps.

“It was chalk and cheese to the Walsall game two weeks ago (which Newport won 3-0) when we got off to a flyer.

“Today we were up against it. We gave ourselves a mountain to climb. Some of the performances just weren’t good enough.

“It’s got to be better. At the end of the day, they may have a little bit of credit with me, the fans and the club, but I can’t have too much more of that. That was really poor today.”

By contrast MK Dons head coach Mike Williamson could not give his team enough praise as they registered their third win in the five matches.

In control of the fixture from start to finish, the Dons are now within three points of Crewe and the automatic promotion places.

Williamson said: “I could go through the whole team and even the lads that came off the bench made an impact, which you want.

“Everything we did out of possession really gave us that platform to be that good in possession and I said to the boys that’s what we’re going to focus on now.

“I feel as though we’re starting to understand the concept and the structure of how we want to play.

“The lads ran their socks off and left everything out there. So I can’t be any more complimentary. It was a privilege to watch it.”

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