No hard luck story
- Credit: Phil Mingo/PPAUK
Torquay United must not start feeling that they are stuck in a 'hard luck' trap after a card-ridden start to the season following that controversial Play-Off Final defeat in June, says manager Gary Johnson.
Gulls fans, still frustrated about the disallowed goals which marked their Play-Off defeat to Hartlepool on penalties, have seen a new-look team take only one point from the first three games of this season, with two men sent off, 12 bookings and costly mistakes in defence.
Johnson did not mince his words in the dressing-room after Monday's 4-0 home defeat to Woking, when United were two goals and a man down after 22 minutes.
But he gave the players two days off after a busy two-match Bank Holiday weekend.
"Me and Downsey (assistant Aaron Downes) said our piece and gave them a couple of days to think about it," said Johnson, who repeated that replays backed his claim that Ali Omar's sending-off at Notts County (1-1) and Chiori Johnson's first booking against Woking were harsh decisions.
"It's all felt like a little bit of a follow-on from the Final, but we've got to get away from that tag of being unlucky," he said.
"We've got to be very professional in our outlook and in our way of thinking, and hopefully get our results back on track pretty quickly.
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"Ali wanted to apologise to the boys after last Saturday, but we told him he had nothing to apologise for.
"With Chiori, if you go in two-footed and win the ball, you can still be sent off because it's 'too aggressive'.
"There is a very fine line.
"In our day, they were always great tackles. Now everyone is looking after players' welfare, and I think referees should look at that - did he go in with intent to injure or to win the ball?
"But players have also got a responsibility to understand what's happening in the game at the moment.
"Probably Chiori didn't have to make that second tackle so close to the first one, and so close to their bench.
"We have a saying here - 'T-Cup'. It stands for 'Thinking Correctly Under Pressure'.
"We have to bring in potential and work with them.
"There is work to do. We are a work in progress, and when the ability comes out in this team, and the intent, we will see a decent group of players."
Johnson stressed that, although Omar will be back for the Maidenhead game, he is still looking to strengthen in defence.
"I thought Dean Moxey did a good job in there (centre-back v Woking), but obviously his best position is left-back," said Johnson, who confirmed that United had hoped to get central defender Sam Sherring back from AFC Bournemouth for a second loan spell.
Sherring has now joined League One Accrington Stanley on loan.
"We are looking, and we have been for some time," said Johnson.
"I think they (Omar and Joe Lewis) will be a good pairing, with the help of anyone we can bring in."