Peterborough United manager Graham Westley insists his players showed the chairman how much they care about the club today (April 16).
Chairman Darragh MacAnthony’s delivered threats and ultimatums during a midweek moan about his team’s poor form.
But Posh responded with a 4-1 League One win at Colchester, a result that flattered them, but was achieved on the back of a performance full of spirit and commitment.
Westley said: “The players and the club’s staff all appreciate how much the chairman does for the club and I think they sent a message back today which said that they care about Peterborough United as well.
“The chairman hit the nail on the head with his words last week, We were in a great position in January and we have fallen away quite dramatically, but we are a young side and perhaps this season came too soon for us, in terms of maintaining a promotion challenge.
“The chairman thinks I’m too tolerant at times with the younger players, but I like to think I am showing understanding towards them.
“But I understand the chairman’s frustrations completely. The crowds are falling, the season ticket sales are slightly down and that’s obviously a result of our form.
“Our fans have generally been superb this season, but now is the time for everyone to come together and the players proved they have bought into that today.”
Goals from Jon Taylor, substitutes Andrew Fox and Shaquile Coulthirst (with their first Football League goals for the club), and Marcus Maddison secured Posh their victory, but Westley was not getting carried away with the performance against a Colchester team who now look certain to be relegated.
Posh ‘keeper Ben Alnwick saved a first-half penalty when the score was 1-0.
“It was a convincing scoreline, but a far from convincing performance. We were never really in control,” Westley admitted. “They were generally brighter in possession than us, but we were very clinical in front of goal and that was decisive.
“We have shown all season we have great ability going forward and we all saw it again today and it won us the game.
“But we were over-run at times in midfield. We looked very tired in that area of the pitch and some of our players look to have run their race for this season.
“We will have to look after some of them in the final four matches, to avoid injury for a start. We were hanging in there for a lot of the game, and our spirit helped us get through.
“There were some big performances though. Michael Bostwick was sensational, a real man-mountain, while Ben Alnwick did his job very well. The penalty save was obviously vital as we didn’t want to go 1-1 at that time.
“Jon Taylor did well also. A lot of his excellent play doesn’t always lead to much, but he was a constant threat today. Bearing in mind he had tonsilitis, Jon can be pleased with his performance.
“I was pleased with the defensive discipline that Ricardo Santos showed after picking up an early booking. He was very good in the second-half.
“And great obviously for Andrew Fox and Shaquile Coulthirst to score their first League goals for the club. The other players were clearly thrilled for them which shows the sort of spirit we have here.”
Full-back Michael Smith limped out of the game with a tight hamstring in the second-half. He is a doubt for the League One match at Barnsley on Tuesday (April 19).
Posh remain 14th in the table, but cannot now be relegated.