John Sheridan backs Plymouth Argyle despite poor start to season
Manager John Sheridan is prepared to take the criticism “on the chin” after Plymouth Argyle’s woeful start to the League Two season.
After leading the Pilgrims to safety last term, Sheridan had predicted they could challenge for the play-offs this season. His optimism was based on the collection of summer signings he has brought to the club.
However, their 2-0 defeat by Fleetwood Town at Home Park on Saturday leaves them as one of only three teams in the division without a point to their name. The shot-shy Pilgrims have also yet to score a goal in either of their League games.
Sheridan, who signed a three-year contract in May after saving Argyle from relegation, admitted his team “were not at the races” against Fleetwood. He said: “I will get judged. Last season I was the hero, but I’m not frightened of taking criticism.
“I expect criticism because we have started the season poorly. No goals and we have lost two games.
“I will take that on the chin. I’m ready for that. That’s what football is all about.
“I want to do really well and I have said we are going to do well this season so I need to sort it out, and I will.
“The players need to stay focused and on each other’s side and we will get over the poor start so far.”
Sheridan had watched Fleetwood when they lost 3-2 away to Notts County in the League Cup first round last Wednesday. He was struck by Town’s counter-attacking threat and warned his players about that. So he was extremely frustrated that both of Fleetwood’s goals, scored by striker David Ball in the tenth and 12th minutes, came on the break.
He said: “We are taking corners and they end up having a shot at goal. It’s ridiculous. I made it clear to the players – they are a very good counter-attacking side. Everyone knew what their jobs were but we weren’t at the races.
“There were probably nine or ten players who weren’t at the races. They put effort in, but they didn’t put any thought into the game and what they were doing.
“It’s not about running around and thinking you are working hard. Sometimes your mind takes care of how you are going to play. Unfortunately, too many weren’t there for us.
“You can get a result when it’s one or two, but not when it’s seven, eight or nine.”
Ball’s double strike on Saturday came after he grabbed a goal in each of Fleetwood’s League games against Argyle last season. Sheridan said: “He’s a threat. He’s a clever player and has scored against us before. I just think we weren’t switched on.
“They were soft goals. He had too much time and space. For me, he was the best player on the pitch with his reactions and his anticipation.”
Argyle’s defeat by Fleetwood came after they lost 1-0 away to Southend United in their opening League game. Sheridan added: “I don’t change. I’m honest and I will tell them how I feel. I want us playing football which is hopefully going to get us out of this division.
“I keep saying I think we have got a good chance and I still believe that. We haven’t started the season the way I expected us but we have got to stay focused.”