Carlisle manager Greg Abbott cut his post-match press conference short on Saturday with the defiant assertion that his team would play worse and win games following Port Vale’s dramatic and devastating point-stealing injury time strike.
The written press were denied the opportunity to grill the manager further, as he pulled the plug on a brief but feisty radio interview, when he was asked about his ability to turn words into results with his side still waiting for that elusive first League win of the campaign.
“I’m not going to sit here and talk about stupid things because you don’t always get what you deserve in this game,” he said. “
We are looking at a situation where Troy [Archibald-Henville] has missed at one end and, if it had gone in, we’d be discussing a 1-0 win.
“They have gone up the other end and scored and suddenly we’re looking at a defeat. That’s the margin we work within.”
Tom Pope’s late killer blow in front of a sizeable gathering of travelling Valiants was nothing less than the away side deserved, as they showed more attacking intent in the face of an opposition who continue to demonstrate a lack of purpose when in possession of the ball.
“I think the fans are pleased with the improvement they have seen,” Abbott insisted. “They stuck with us all the way through but the problem we have is that they go away with that late goal at the front of their minds. That overshadows the good play which went before, so it’s very frustrating for all of us.”
The frustration on the terraces with a run of results which has placed the Cumbrians firmly in the bottom four brought yet more calls for the manager’s head.
But as the pressure on the position continues to mount, any talk of a need for change is quickly dismissed by the current incumbent.
“That’s for others to talk about,” Abbott said. “My job is to take these players and to give them the confidence to bring us some results. They’re on their knees because they know they didn’t deserve to lose this game. Football does that to you but when you have players willing to play for you, the way these lads are for me, then you know you have a chance.”
What can’t be ignored is the fact that a poor run of results stretching back way into last season is having a huge and worrying impact on the club’s most important asset – the attendance figures.
“They’ll come back to us because I can guarantee that we’ll get the results we all want,” Abbott said. “We aren’t too far away; we’ve seen that today with what was some good football. We just need that little bit of luck which you just don’t seem to get when things are going against you.” And that luck will need to change quickly if the long-serving boss is to be given the chance to take his tenure beyond the five-year point.
“When I was at Leyton Orient we didn’t win at all in our first ten games of the season,” debut defender Leon McSweeney said. “The board stuck with the manager and we ended up turning things round and climbing the table. We have some good players in that dressing room and we just need the rub of the green to kick things off for us.”
“There are a lot of positives for us to focus on and that’s what we’re going to do,” Abbott added. “We created chances and we could have been out of sight in the first half.
“We’ll get back in on Monday, get back to it and make sure we do something about getting the result everyone at this club deserves against Sheffield United.”