Peterborough United manager Graham Westley has urged his players to answer chairman Darragh MacAnthony’s furious rant with a much improved performance at League One strugglers Colchester United on Saturday (April 16).
Yesterday the Posh chairman labelled his club’s season as a ‘complete failure’ and warned that anyone at the club who fails to meet his expectations during the next five games will be shown the door.
Westley was in agreement with what most of what 40-year-old MacAnthony had to say and admitted his harsh words could be the ‘kick up the backside’ everyone at the club needs.
Westley said: “I think the chairman is right to have the views that he has got. He is right to feel the anger that he feels. He invests plenty of time and money into the club and he wants a return.
“There is no question that since we got knocked out of the FA Cup our season has gone off the rails. Our form this year has been short of the mark and the chairman has to take the brunt of that in a drop in ticket sales.”
MacAnthony accused his team of lacking a leader and Westley has backed his players to improve and conjure up a good performance against the U’s on Saturday.
Posh will be hoping to avoid a third straight league defeat.
“We need to get back to playing with belief and thrust because that’s what got us good results. We have gone into games and shared possession instead of dominating the game which has not been good enough,” said Westley.
“We have to get ourselves into a position which is higher than the club finished last year and that starts on Saturday. I think the players not only want to answer the chairman back in a constructive way but also answer themselves back.
“There is a sense in the camp that we must do better before the end of the season and we need to prove that.”
It will be a tough task for Posh on Saturday. They face a resurgent Colchester side who have won three of their last four games.
Kevin Kean’s men are also unbeaten in five home matches and clinched a crucial 1-0 win at Blackpool last time out.
Westley said: “We will face a team struggling at the bottom of the table and we know if we play to our level we can beat and beat well but if we are not on the money then we will struggle.”
Posh defender Michael Smith is available for selection after recovering from a knock he received during the Rochdale game but Tom Nichols has been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with a knee injury.
The Posh boss also thanked fans for their unbelievable support during the poor run of results and believes he can repay their faith by meeting the chairman’s promotion demands next year.
“We need to do more than we have shown this year. We have the core of something that can succeed but I know that we have a lot of work to do in the coming months. I think the players have been given an honest warning and the players need to take that on board and improve before the summer arrives.”
Westley added: “I enjoy working at a club that demands success and I am confident that we can fulfil the chairman’s goals next season.”
Westley also hinted that Leicester left-back Callum Elder is likely to return to Posh on loan next season.