Coleman: Injuries can't excuse defeat
Sligo Rovers manager John Coleman said he will not “hide behind injuries” after the defeat to UCD despite the Bit o’ Red losing five players this week.
Rovers were beaten 1-0 by UCD in Belfield on Sunday as they were made to pay for not finding a clinical side in front of goal against The Students.
Kalen Spillane was forced off last Thursday against FK Banga, while Aaron Greene, Paul O’Conor, Evan McMillan and John Russell were ruled out from knocks in the build-up to Sunday’s game. In addition Joseph Ndo has a knee injury.
Coleman said: “We've lost five players in a week. When we haven't got that big a squad as well, it's not easy to cope with. It's easy to hide behind injuries and we're not going to do that. We had a team today that was good enough to beat UCD.
“The fact is the papers won't lie tomorrow, UCD need to be applauded for how they went about the game. They passed it well and tried to play football. We have no complaints.”
Coleman said the manner of the defeat, where Rovers dominated play but couldn’t make a breakthrough, highlights the need for an increased attacking threat in the squad.
He said it is something he is very keen to address.
“I have to accept that sometimes, even if you're the better side, it doesn't necessarily mean you win. If you're going to be the better team, there's no point if you're not going to take your chances. That's an area we have to get better.
“The effort was there, possibly we need a little bit more desire in front of goal. It is something we have identified that we have to be better at. It's something we are desperate to get right. We weren't ruthless in front of goal, the quality wasn't there.”
Five players absent because of injury in the last few days became six after just two minutes of the clash in south Dublin.
Raffaele Cretaro appeared to suffer a torn calf and the Bit o’ Red manager confirmed it is likely to end his campaign.
“It looked really bad, I know myself when you have a calf (injury), when you really tear it, it's 10-12 weeks at least so I wouldn't be holding much hope for him for the season.”
One positive for Rovers was the return of Gavin Peers and Jeff Henderson as both players made their first starts after injury.
With Spillane and McMillan ruled out, Coleman had no choice but to utilise both defenders for 90 minutes. He said it wasn’t how we wanted to deploy the pair but that there was no other option.
“It's not ideal that they had to play together. Ideally I could have given them a half each. But needs must and we were forced into that situation. I thought Seamus played well in midfield.
“Whatever team we put out, they have to be keen and eager to work for the shirt and the fans that made the long trip.
“They have to take a lot of credit for coming all this way when they paid their money on Thursday which historically is a bit more expensive and made the trip here, and some of them will on Thursday, and it's disappointing when you don't deliver for them.
“That has always been one of my big things that you want to repay the travelling fans with something. Whilst I do think they could possibly be pleased with the performance and the effort, it's disappointing when you lose when you know you could have won the game.”
Rovers will travel to Trondheim on Wednesday for the Europa League second round first leg with Rosenborg, with Coleman hoping to see some of the injured stars recover in time for the clash with the Norwegian side.
He said they will not shirk the challenge of Rosenborg, regardless of players absent.
“If you can't get yourself up for a game like that, you won't be able to get yourself up for any game.
“We have to assess the damage from the last four days and we'll move on to come up with a plan to compete on Thursday.”