Manager upbeat after first defeat of the season.Martin Allen was frustrated at his side’s slow start on Saturday, as his team went down 2-1 at home to Lincoln City in their first defeat of the season.
Speaking after the game, the Barnet manager said:
“The first half we just never got going today. Credit to the opposition, I thought that they played very well but we didn’t get up to the high standards that we have set ourselves recently.
“It was disappointing all around from start to finish. The first 46 minutes were hard to watch, we’ve been playing very, very well, but today was just one of those days where we didn’t get going.
“We weren’t sharp to the ball, we didn’t win our headers, we didn’t close down with real tenacity.”
“But that’s down to me, not the players. I pick the team and I pick the training. I chose how I wanted the players to play and today it just didn’t happen. It’s my responsibility.”
Martin made two changes at half-time, bringing on Mauro Vilhete and Sam Muggleton before throwing on Luke Gambin during the second half, and the manager was pleased with how they influenced proceedings:
“We had to sharpen it up somehow or other and had to bring some fresh blood onto the pitch. Jamal Lowe has been playing very well in training recently so he was a little bit unlucky not to get on and Mauro was probably unlucky not to start today.
“I thought that we played very well in the second half and were much, much better but we just couldn’t break them down and get that equaliser. We could have conceded more than two, but we were gambling to try and get the goals back, and I’d rather gamble and lose by more in order to try and get that other goal.”
However, Martin did admit that perhaps he should have made more changes to the starting line-up for the team’s third game in a week:
“You could say that perhaps I should have made a few more changes for the third game in a week but that is something for me to sleep on and ponder for next week.
“There are a couple of players in our squad that are a little bit behind fitness-wise. Perhaps I should have made more changes to the team to freshen up the legs.
“Perhaps I should have been a bit more decisive but they’ve been good in training, they’ve been bright in training and haven’t looked fatigued. But three games in a week if you haven’t done a full pre-season programme can catch up, and today it did.”
The manager did admit that he was frustrated with some of the referee’s decisions, including a potential penalty for handball and the failure to spot a kick off the ball by Hamza Bencherif on Bondz N’Gala, but that the team would take stock and move on:
“I just chatted to the players. None of them turn up to not play as well as they can so I need to find out from them as to why it didn’t get going in the first half.
“You can only give credit to all the players and the staff and everybody in our squad. They have all been absolutely fantastic for the last two months of pre-season training and the first few weeks of the season, today it just didn’t work.
"When you are top of the league everybody comes to try and beat you and take it off you. That’s how it was today and it takes a bit of time to get used to that, especially after a relegation and the pretty average season that most of these players have had.
“We just came up a little bit short but we’re moving in the right direction. The players have given everything for the team for the club, they have all been fantastic and I have really enjoyed working with them.”