Defiant Peterborough United boss Darren Ferguson insists he will fight on at The ABAX Stadium, even though he admits his job is at risk.
A 3-0 home defeat by leaders Bristol City tonight (November 28) means Posh have taken just one point from their last six League One matches to leave Ferguson fighting for his future.
After the game he admitted his team’s form and resuts were ‘killing’ him, but that he wouldn’t hide. His team left the pitch to boos in front of the live Sky TV cameras after being thoroughly outclassed by City.
The performance and result ensured the return to the club of legendary forward Craig Mackail-Smith proved a massive anti-climax.
“Whether I carry on or not is not my decision,” Ferguson stated. “But until I’m told otherwise I will carry on fighting and working to turn this situation around as that’s what’s is in my blood. I have a lot of affection for this club, but the fact that I have had success here before won’t mean a lot right now.
“If I was a fan I would be asking questions about what was going on. I stated in my programme notes that it’s a results-based business and that the results are my responsibility.
“If we keep losing I will be at risk, but I won’t hide and I want to continue. I’m happy to take the plaudits when we do well so I have to take the criticism when things are going badly and this must be the worst run we’ve ever had under my management, certainly in this division.
“Performances do matter and the one we delivered tonight didn’t help. We looked a very weak team and there can be no excuses about the result. City are a very good side and we allowed them to dictate play from the off when we had intended the opposite.
“The chairman at this club has always supported me. I would never accuse him of not backing me and he made such a positive statement this week by bringing back one of the best players in the club’s history.
“We knew the place would be rocking at the start, but the key was to make sure it was rocking for the whole game. Instead it went flat within five minutes, We started badly and they started well. We couldn’t win any second balls and we couldn’t keep the ball.
“The plan was to by-pass their three midfielders and get the ball to our wide players, but we just couldn’t get hold of it. It then became important to see the difficult period through, but instead we were 2-0 down inside 15 minutes and against a side as good as City that was always going to be tough. You have to earn the right to play. but we didn’t do that and the two first-half goals we conceded were dreadful.
“Jack Payne should have cleared the first one and Michael Smith should never have let the cross come in for the second goal
“Our confidence is low. We talk about confidence all the time, but that will never return until you start winning games, it really is that simple.
“I now have to make sure I keep believing in myself and my team. I will keep working hard and I will try to get a side onto the pitch that will start winning games. If I don’t the inevitable will happen.”
Mackail-Smith’s return on loan from Brighton so soon after Aaron Mclean re-joined from Bradford City, enabled Ferguson to field the club’s fabled ‘Mac Attack’ for the first time in almost four years. There was also a surprise return to action for star man Marcus Maddison who had been absent with ankle ligament damage.
Ferguson employed a 4-4-2 formation, but was forced to change to match City’s 3-5-2 system after 25 minutes.
“The game is easy in hindsight,” Ferguson added. “You see a game in your mind before kick-off and then something entirely different plays out. We had four strong strikers on the pitch, but you have to get them the ball.
“Craig and Aaron will always give you 100 per cent effort and commitment, but it was hard for them tonight. It was a gamble playing Marcus, but we felt the risk would be worthwhile if we could get him on the ball in dangerous areas.”
The defeat dropped Posh a place to ninth in League One.