CLIFTONVILLE boss Eddie Patterson has demanded his players learn from their mistakes as they prepare to welcome Glenavon to Solitude this evening.
The Reds are on a three-game losing streak after Saturday's capitulation against Glentoran and Patterson wants to see a reaction tonight or youth will get its chance in a squad which has been riddled with injuries recently.
“At 1-0 up against 10 men on Saturday, we knew what we needed to do,” said the Solitude boss.
“We've been in that situation before and the players have it drilled into them in training and in team-talks about what each of them has to do, where they have to be and how we go about our business.
“Time and again, though, we fail to do it and, watching from my position in the stand, it looked to me that a lot of my players wanted to be the spare man and thought they could have an easy time of it in the second-half.
“Glentoran's winning goal was scored by a central midfielder and, when I asked the question of who was supposed to be tracking him, I got blank faces. Messages haven't been put across, things aren't being taken on board and we're paying the price in circumstances which are stacked in our favour.”
Patterson refused to blame the club's injury crisis for their recent slump in form, but did insist the withdrawal of Mark Clarke was the turning point at The Oval.
“Mark's a player who likes to get the ball down, play his football and isn't one to shirk defensive responsibilities either. When he was forced off, we changed things around in midfield to cover for him and it didn't work because jobs weren't done.”
Clarke is likely to be absent for a month while George McMullan, who also departed the action early at the weekend, could be out for longer still, though Patterson hopes to have both Barry Holland and Ciaran Donaghy back tonight.
“We have a squad to work from and we've quite a few players out so youngsters will have to be given their chance — especially if our more experienced players aren't performing. We gave young Steven Brennan his debut on Saturday and up against Keith Gillespie he did what I wanted him to do and can be pleased with himself.
“We have a lot of talented kids on the books and, if needs be, they'll be given an opportunity because, while they might not be able to get the results, they'll benefit from the experience in the long term and give the rest of the squad something to think about.”