Peterborough United's players need to determine how they want the season to finish insists Darren Ferguson as he expects his side to be written off following Wycombe defeat
Posh were well beaten at Adams Park despite a brief second-half fight-back as they suffered a third straight defeat. They have now slipped to fifth in the table following Barnsley’s late comeback win at home to Orient.
Ferguson, who gave rookie striker Pemi Aderoju a late debut from the substitutes’ bench, was happy to defend his squad, but issued them with a challenge to prevent a disappointing end to the season.
Ferguson said: “It’s a very, very poor result when you concede five goals. We were just so passive, there was no urgency and our tempo and detail in our passing wasn’t correct. The manner of the of the way we lost and the performance was nowhere near what I expect from our team.
“The players need to determine where we are going to go for the rest of the season. Everyone will write us off because three defeats out of three is not good, but we have to go again quickly. I’ve got to make sure I look after them and get them going again quickly.
“Bad runs can happen over the course of a season, but my job now is to make sure that I defend this young squad and make sure we stick together.
“We started okay but the problem was the front two couldn’t get hold of it. We had, I don’t know how many corners, but didn’t look a threat from any of them. The detail in the passing was all wrong.
“Sometimes it is easy to play at 3-0 down because the pressure is off, but at least we had a bit of a go for that short period.
"At that point, we were clearly in the ascendancy and then we conceded a really, really soft goal straight away and it knocked us. We kept huffing and puffing and did have chances to get back into it at 4-3.
"Pemi didn’t get long but at least he’s had a chance, he nearly scored. Malik Mothersille did well and Ryan De Havilland did well so they were at least positives.”
Owing to injuries to Ephron Mason-Clark and Kwame Poku and the suspension for Michael Olakigbe, Posh made the switch to a wing back system and opted for Romoney Crichlow in place of Jadel Katongo on the left side of defence. Jonson Clarke-Harris enjoyed a rare start at centre forward.
Posh abandoned that system in favour of the usual 4-2-3-1 at 3-0 down, taking off Jonson Clarke-Harris and Crichlow for Mothersille and Katongo, and scored the first of their quickfire double just five minutes later.
The Posh boss refused to blame the change for the result though.
Ferguson added: “I changed to a back three because I had two of my best wide players out and three wingers in total out.
"It was the best way of getting Jonno into the team. Jadel is 18 and has played a lot of games recently and Romoney would give us balance. He did fine, his performance was ok, but the basics of the game weren’t there today.
“When you come to Wycombe and don’t do the basics in terms of the second balls and tackles, it makes it a bad day for us.
“I don’t need to defend myself over anything I’ve done with the shape as it wasn’t anything to do with that. It was to do with the tempo, the urgency and the poor goals we lost.”
Posh have the opportunity to get back on track on Tuesday night when they host Port Vale. The managerless Valiants snatched a 2-2 draw at home to Stevenage with a 98th minute penalty on Saturday.