Darragh MacAnthony on the need for exciting, attacking football, Darren Ferguson’s future and playing like Real Madrid

Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony is backing manager Darren Ferguson and his staff to turn the club’s form around in the Championship.

By Alan Swann
Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 9:48 am
Sammie Szmodics in action for Posh at Middlesbrough. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Sammie Szmodics in action for Posh at Middlesbrough. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

MacAntony insisted on his popular ‘Hard Truth’ podcast today that his manager’s job is not under threat, but he has called for a return to the exciting, attacking football that has been the hallmark of their time together at London Road.

The Posh chairman was as frustrated as the club’s fans as the team failed to register a single shot on target against a Middlesborough side in the midst of a massive defensive injury crisis on Saturday. Posh lost 2-0, a sixth straight away defeat in the Championship.

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Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony (centre) with manager Darren Ferguson (left) and director of football Barry Fry.

MacAnthony hopes to see a bolder approach in tonight’s big game against fellow strugglers Hull City at the MKM Stadium (October 20, 7.45pm kick off).

“A lot of what we did at Middlesbrough was good,” MacAnthony said. “We had looked at data in the international break and realised we need to get into the opposition box more and we got in there 14 times which is five times more than we normally manage. The shape (3-4-2-1) looked good and everyone looked like they knew their jobs.

“But we had 11 chances to shoot and didn’t take them. We didn’t have a single shot on goal and that’s not Peterborough United. If you don’t shoot you won’t score, but players seemed to want to pass and let someone else have the responsibility. We tried to walk the ball in, but we are not Real Madrid. One of those shooting chances could well have gone in or you get a lucky ricochet or something.

“That’s down to a lack of confidence and belief and it needs to change. Our shot conversion rate is actually the best in the league. We score from 30% of the shots we take, but we don’t shoot enough.

“It’s not a lack of strikers. We had Siriki Dembele, Sammie Szmodics and Jorge Grant on the pitch who scored 50 goals between then last season. I know it was in League One, but still, not one shot between them?

“We need to play to try and win, not to play to try and not lose. If you fall short in the first instance than so be it, but if you fall short trying not to lose than it’s often a disaster.

“Obviously we were denied a clear penalty at Boro, but there was still plenty of time to win the game, but 15 minutes from time we made substitutions that didn’t seem likely to help us win. Siriki Dembele wasn’t great, but he’s a threat.

“In the manager’s mind - and I’m not trying to dig him out here as his job is not under threat after 12 games - he probably thought that was going to help us win. We had a heated discussion about things after the match, but I love my manager and my players, it’s just we are way below our standards right now.

“We’ve had no luck, but we need take the brakes off and go for it. If we lose 5-3 then so be it.”