MATCH REACTION: McCann embarrassed as towels are thrown in and work ethic is questionable

Posh manager Grant McCann can't bear to watch the second-half against Oxford. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Posh manager Grant McCann can't bear to watch the second-half against Oxford. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
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Peterborough United manager Grant McCann admitted he was embarrassed watching his team’s second-half performance against Oxford at the ABAX Stadium today (September 30).

Posh conceded four goals after the break as they slipped to a 4-1 home defeat to a team who had lost their three previous League One matches.

Posh striker Ricky Miller congratulates Jack Marriott after his goal against Oxford. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh striker Ricky Miller congratulates Jack Marriott after his goal against Oxford. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

The defeat dropped Posh a place to fourth. They had led at half-time thanks to Jack Marriott’s ninth goal of the season,

McCann delivered some strong words to his players before facing the press.

“I told them some home truths,” McCann stated. “I won’t be watching another second-half performance like that one, especially in front of our own fans who have supported us tremendously this season. That was nowhere near good enough.

“I was embarrassed for myself, for the club and for the fans. It looked like one or two of our players threw the towel in once we conceded which is why we conceded again. They were happy enough to run forward, but running back didn’t interest them and I find that alarming.

Posh centre-back Steven Taylor has just seen a header saved by Oxford 'keeper Simon Eastwood. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh centre-back Steven Taylor has just seen a header saved by Oxford 'keeper Simon Eastwood. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

“We didn’t track runners, we didn’t show any fight for the second ball. We didn’t defend our goal properly. I felt powerless as I’d sent all the attacking players on the pitch to try and rescue the game. We were desperate for a break, but we were always likely to be liable to a counter attack and our lack of running back made it too easy for them.

“And yet they showed last week (in a 3-2 win over Wigan) that they are prepared to fight, but we’ve had two desperately disappointing results since then.

“That’s the first time we’ve lost consecutive games this season and it’s important we now re-group and get back to what we had been doing well this season.

“We were winning games early in the season because we had good defensive shape and we could play off that. We even did a lot of work on it ahead of this game.

Wes Thomas fires Oxford in front at Posh. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Wes Thomas fires Oxford in front at Posh. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

“But there were warning signs before half-time that we were losing control. We were comfortable for the first 30 minutes and deserved to be in front, but the players then appeared to think the game was easy.

“I’m not going to throw the toys out of the pram as I know I have a good group of players here, but the work ethic of some was questionable today.

“We still had our chances to score though. We’ve hit the woodwork twice and their goalkeeper has made some very good saves, but overall our fundamentals were poor.”

Posh are without a League One fixture next Saturday (October 7) as their scheduled game at Charlton has been postponed because of the home squad’s international commitments.

Posh host local rivals Northampton in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday (October 3) and then it’s a long wait until a home match with Gillingham on October 14.

McCann insists he will play a strong side against the Cobblers to get today’s result and performance out of their system.