Fergie says Posh are a soft touch

Marcus Maddison in action at Port Vale. He missed a great chance to score at 1-1. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Marcus Maddison in action at Port Vale. He missed a great chance to score at 1-1. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson described his side as a ‘soft touch’ after today’s (January 17) 2-1 League One defeat at Port Vale.

Posh took the lead through recalled striker Conor Washington in the first-half at Vale Park, but conceded two dreadful goals - the second following a horrible error from central defender Christian Burgess - either side of the interval before tamely accepting a ninth defeat in 12 League One matches.

Posh have taken just five points in that time and are now 15th in the table, just five points off the relegation zone. It’s a shocking run of form that their under-pressure manager appears powerless to arrest.

Problems in both penalty areas again haunted Posh as Washington and Marcus Maddison missed glaring first-half opportunities to score.

“I feel like I should just play a tape of my last 10 post-match press conferences,” Ferguson admitted. “I don’t want to be stood here making a fool of myself by saying the same things over and over again, but I’m being forced to by the way we are playing.

“We missed two one-on-on opportunities which would have killed the game off in the first-half and we conceded two terrible goals.

“We didn’t start the game particularly well, but we took the lead and immediately took control of the game. Conor really should have made it 2-0 and Marcus should really have put us 2-1 in front. He had a lot of time to pick his spot and I’d normally expect him to score from there.

“Port Vale were there for the taking at that point, but instead we let them back in the game with a goal through some poor defending. Our left-back didn’t stop the cross, our right-back is out of position, a midfielder hasn’t tracked a runner, and our centre-back just has to stand still and he clears the danger.

“At half-time I still felt we could go on and win the game, but within a couple of minutes we gift them a second goal and after that, until the last 10 minutes, they looked the much likelier to score again. They upped the tempo, pressed us higher up the pitch and we just couldn’t cope with it.

“Even when we had a bit of a go towards the end we didn’t really create anything so it’s another disappointing day for us. We simply weren’t good enough again.”

Ferguson retained the 4-2-3-1 formation and looks set to do so again when Posh visit Notts County next Saturday (January 24). The manager became prickly when asked after the game about his own position, but stopped short of defending too many of his players. He declined to admit that Posh should prepare for a relegation fight for the rest of the season.

Ferguson added: “My position hasn’t changed, you know that, so why ask the question?. You’ll have to ask the players if they are up for the fight, but if we keep losing we are obviously going to put ourselves in a very dangerous position.

“I have to digest this result before I think about the future.

“There were positives. The formation would have worked fine if we had taken our chances. They are ifs and buts though - the bottom line is that we are not good enough at the moment.

“I felt Conor Washington played the lone striker role very well. He worked his socks off.”

Chairman Darragh MacAnthony, who criticised his players after last weekend’s (January 10) home defeat by Colchester, had made no post-match comments at the time of posting this article (9pm).

Match report: Port Vale 2, Posh 1 - So many problems, so few solutions

- The Fergie question: should he stay or go? - vote closes 21 January.

Have your Posh say: by emailing alan.swann@peterboroughtoday.co.uk, or on Twitter @PTAlanSwann or tweet using #PUFC

Visit The Posh Page for our live blog and get local football mobile apps