Peterborough United manager on an undeserved 'torrent of abuse' aimed at goalkeeper and the need for everyone to stick together
In his pre-match press conference ahead of Tuesday’s League One game against Port Vale at the Weston Homes Stadium, Posh boss Darren Ferguson didn’t reveal who would be in goal, but it’s thought the more experienced Jed Steer will be back between the sticks.
Bilokapic made two horrible passing errors and scored an own goal as Posh were thumped 5-2 at Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday. He suffered abuse on social media as a result a few days after reports surfaced of face-to-face insults following last Tuesday’s defeat at Exeter.
That was described as an ‘undeserved torrent of abuse’ by Ferguson.
“I have a decision to make regarding who plays in goal tomorrow,” Ferguson said. “But I feel the situation with Nick has steamrollered out of hand. I know if you can’t take criticism you shouldn’t be in this game and it’s the way of the world that you get praise when you win and stick when you lose, but we have seen stick given out after a win.
"It’s got personal with Nick. He deserved criticism after Wycombe as he made mistakes, as we all did including me, but you have to be careful these days with mental health issues around players and Nick didn’t deserve the torrent of abuse he received after Exeter as he actually played well there and deserved praise.
“I knew when we brought him here there would be mistakes, but he was having a good season all the way up to the Barnsley home game with 10 clean sheets and some brilliant saves. Every player makes mistakes, but those of a goalkeeper are magnified and I feel there’s been a build-up to what has now happened with Nick. That’s the sense I was getting.
"He’s never been through a season like this before. He’s never played so many games. I don’t read anything on social media, but I know what’s been going on as the player has told me for a start.
"Fans are completely entitled to their opinions, but when it becomes personal I have to say something
"It’s my problem and I will look after him. We will rally round him as a management staff and as teammates. Nick understands the situation. If you have to moan aim it at the manager and concentrate on getting behind a young group of players.
"I made the decision to get Nick back in the side for the reason I explained before as Jed Steer, who had been signed to cover Nick’s injury, decided to leave the club and then come back. It got more complicated than it needed to be, but it happened and we just have to get on with things.
"We’ve had a rough week, but the whole team including Nick deserves the support of the fans. I’m not saying they haven’t been supportive, but we need to stick together.”
Posh have lost their last three League One matches and conceded 10 goals, slipping from second to fifth in the process.