Belfast Telegraph

McDonnell wants Point to show some pride

Ballymena Utd v Warrenpoint Town, Danske Bank Premiership: Showgrounds, Today, 3.00pm

Angry: Stephen McDonnell is unhappy with his side
Angry: Stephen McDonnell is unhappy with his side

By Steven Beacom

Warrenpoint Town boss Stephen McDonnell has admitted that he will be able to accept a fifth league defeat in a row at Ballymena United today but only if the performance from his team significantly improves on recent weeks.

McDonnell was livid last time out when the Milltown men were hammered 5-1 on home turf by Cliftonville.

The result meant that four games into the league campaign Town had zero points with 17 goals conceded, scoring just once in reply.

Few will expect Warrenpoint to do anything at Ballymena, even though they won at the Showgrounds last season, but McDonnell is demanding more effort and endeavour from his players.

"For the Ballymena game I want hard work. I don't care about the result. I want them to leave everything on the pitch," said McDonnell.

Asked if the poor performances on match days were a reflection of what was going on in training, McDonnell replied: "Training is fine. We are planting ideas but it's when they cross the white line. Against Cliftonville I purposely sat down three times in the second half and got back up to try and get them pressing the ball.

"When I was up they worked that wee bit harder because I chased them to get the ball back.

"If I have to spend my 90 minutes doing that I don't think I'll be able to do it because I'll have no lungs or voice left after the end of every 90 minutes.

"It all boils down to laziness at the moment and a lack of work-rate. No disrespect but the players aren't at a bigger club for a reason. They are here to build a career.

"We ask them what's our identity? Our identity is we are young, we are fit, should be aggressive and we should run more than the opposition and then let our football take over. At the moment we think we can go and play and do none of the rest."

The only upside for Town has been that they have not been cut adrift at the bottom because Institute only have a point and Carrick Rangers have gained three with both playing an extra fixture. That doesn't cut any ice with Warrenpoint's frustrated manager.

"We're not cut adrift but I'm trying to set standards here and this group of players need to wake up and smell the coffee," he blasts.

"I'd like the players to work harder and drag each other through games and then I'll be pleased."

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