Belfast Telegraph

Some Warrenpoint players have shown 'true colours' since Irish cup heartache, blasts boss

 

Warrenpoint Town manager Stephen McDonnell.
Warrenpoint Town manager Stephen McDonnell.
Ambition: Warrenpoint Town manager Stephen McDonnell

By Steven Beacom

Warrenpoint Town boss Stephen McDonnell has slammed his players for lacking a winning mentality and revealed there will be major changes at the club in the summer.

This has actually been one of the best seasons in Town's history, securing top flight safety with weeks to spare, reaching the Irish Cup semi-finals and losing a dramatic Mid-Ulster Cup decider to Glenavon, but that meant nothing to McDonnell after watching his side lose 4-2 at home to derby rivals Newry City in the league at the weekend.

He believes that since last month's Irish Cup penalty shoot-out heartbreak against Ballinamallard, some players have taken their eye off the ball.

"True colours have come out in certain players. There is a reason why, with no disrespect to Warrenpoint when I say this, this is the only level some of them will ever play at," said McDonnell, who at 27 is one of the youngest managers in Europe.

"Some of them have ambitions to go further but they need to start doing more. The performance against Newry was unacceptable.

"I know it is the best season for the club but that's the problem. Everyone gets into this bubble that it is the best season. To be perfectly honest I don't care what type of season it has been…there are still games of football for us to play, and until I get where I want to get with this team, this being the best season doesn't wash with me."

With Warrenpoint set to finish 10th, McDonnell, who was previously a player with Celtic and Dundalk, added: "We had an opportunity going into the split to finish seventh which the club has never done and we certainly won't do it this season.

"That's what disappoints me most. I'm driven to win. I've been involved with good clubs that win things and dressing rooms that have leaders and winners and that's what we are trying to achieve here.

"We aren't going to achieve it with the current bunch of players. We need to add to it. There's not enough leaders and winners and a few have just basically been on their holidays the last couple of weeks.

"I come from a serious environment in the League of Ireland and I want to bring that here. People think I'm going mental when I say Warrenpoint are going three nights training per week next season when lads are getting paid £50, but you've got to put in the effort to reach your goals."

Reflecting on the loss to Newry, McDonnell, whose side host Dungannon on Saturday, added: "Imagine if someone goes for a heart check up after Saturday or you pick up a serious injury and you can't play anymore.

"Some of the players would be devastated if that was their last game of football.

"Every single game you take to the pitch you have to win it. That's the winning mentality. We don't have that here. We've stayed up. Brilliant, but that's not enough for me."

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