Peterborough United players feeling the pressure, but manager backing a speedy return to the top six

Peterborough United manager Steve Evans admits the pressure of playing at home has become too great for some of his players.

Wednesday, 2nd January 2019, 3:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 11:30 am
Action from Posh's New Year's Day defeat at home to Scunthorpe. Photo: David Lowndes.
Action from Posh's New Year's Day defeat at home to Scunthorpe. Photo: David Lowndes.

Posh dropped out of the top six in League One for the first time this season on New Year’s Day after losing 2-0 to struggling Scunthorpe at the ABAX Stadium.

Posh have won just four of 13 home League One games this season. They won their first two home games in August, but haven’t won a Saturday match at the ABAX since beating Luton 3-1 on August 18.

Posh have the 15th best home record in the division, but the second best away record.

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Posh manager Steve Evans (right) with his assistant Paul Raynor before the January 1 game with Scunthorpe. Photo: David Lowndes.

Evans insists they will improve their home form and he believes they will return to the top six soon enough.

Posh are next in League One action at home to Rochdale on January 12.

“We will soon be back in the top six,” Evans said.

“If we beat Rochdale and Barnsley lose their next game we could even be fourth and both of those results are very possible.

“Obviously we are disappointed to drop out of the top six for the first time this season, but it’s the position at the end of the season that matters.

“There’s no way we won’t be challenging as long as we sort our home form out and get the players some help by strengthening the squad.

“Our New Year’s Day performance was baffling. We prepared in exactly the same way for that game as we had for the Accrington match. We had the same players in the same positions and yet we delivered two vastly different performances.

“We were excellent at Accrington from one to 11. Against Scunthorpe we started sloppily, made two horrible individual errors to gift them goals and never looked like getting back into the game.

“Having such a poor home record brings pressure with it and we are not coping well enough.

“I told the players before the game we would be fourth if we beat Scunthorpe as I fancied Barnsley wouldn’t win at Luton, but it obviously didn’t sink in. The best teams respond to a good performance by trying to deliver an even better one. It’s what (leaders) Portsmouth have been doing all season.

“To be fair to the Posh fans they have been very patient with us. There was a smattering of boos after the Scunthorpe game, but nothing dramatic.

“I feel most Posh fans are judging us on our overall form and they a see team put together in the summer sitting within two points of fourth place.

“But we won’t finish in the top six if we don’t improve at the ABAX Stadium. That is obvious. I see what the fans see.”

Charlton host Sunderland in one of three League One matches on Saturday (January 5). That result could have a big impact on the top six.