Chester FC: Jon McCarthy quick to defend players after sixth straight home defeat


Charlie Croasdale

JON McCARTHY leapt to the defence of his Chester players after suffering a sixth successive home defeat.

York City emerged 2-0 winners from the clash at the Deva and were full value for their victory as goals from Vadaine Oliver, and Danny Holmes' left-footed volley sealed the points which hauled them out of the bottom four.

For the Blues however this was painful viewing but McCarthy stressed his players should be judged on the whole season and remains satisfied to be positioned in 14th place on 52 points with five games left to play this campaign.

And the Blues are now closing in on their worst losing home run, which stretched back to eight matches in the 2007-08 season.

“My defence is we've got ourselves into a very good position with six games to go before this match,” he said.

“I will back my squad, and I will stand firm on that. They've delivered for me away from home in recent weeks and I have gone on record as saying how well they've done for me, so I will back them.

“At the start of the season, I don't think many people thought we'd be in this position with a few games to play.

“In amongst yourselves, when you have a chat, you had us in and around the bottom four.

“There's a lot of comments, cheap squad, cheap manager, cheap signings, down by Christmas.

“I had to take that and it wasn't easy and it isn't to come up here and face the media. I'm realistic about where we're at and I think the fans know that.

“That's not me settling for what we've got, but I have strong arguments to the board that what this group of players have done is very good.

“If you look at their age, they can develop as a squad, they have that in them. There's examples further down this league that you can do far worse than our squad.”

McCarthy still believes another three victories from clashes with Lincoln, Forest Green, Woking, Sutton and Boreham Wood would represent a successful season for his outfit, and feels his side have exceeded expectations for long periods of the National League season.

“We know where we're at and the challenges we face,” he continued.

“I don't defend them blindly and amongst ourselves we are very critical and we expect to get better. If you look at the whole season, I'm switched on to the whole thing, we try to be three steps ahead, and when they go wrong we face it.

“I still think the season has been slightly better than many people would have predicted.

“I still want 60 points, definitely. I'm on the record as saying that's a target and we look to get eight points from the next five matches. I've been clear all the way through, I was realistic, lets hit 52 points, now can we hit 60? It's important to set targets for my players and to hit those targets and we've got a big game now on Tuesday and we have to get up for that.”

York manager Gary Mills, who began the campaign in charge of Wrexham before being sacked, was delighted with the three points and hailed the performances of goalscorer Holmes and Amari Morgan-Smith.

“The clean sheet is massive, the defending stood out for me. Danny Holmes last-ditch tackle was a big moment,” he said. 

“That tackle was important and enabled us to go on and win the game. His performance gets even better when he hits the second goal, a great strike but it doesn't matter who scores. What matters is we've ground out an important win and we've given ourselves a chance.

“There's something crackers about me that I love a 1-0 more than a 2-0! There's something about the resilience and steel, there's a danger at 2-0 that we'd take our eye off the ball and relax. That's just me, you appreciate what I'm saying.

“Amari went deeper today and played superbly all day and he deserved a goal on the basis of that performance.

“My players are a great bunch and every single one got the better of their opponent.

“We were disappointed to lose on Tuesday, we didn't see that one coming. We've done the right things since then, it's back in our hands now and that's the most important thing.

“We just worry about ourselves as we can't worry about what happens elsewhere.

“If we do our job we can stay out of that bottom four and make this place happier in the summer.”

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