CHESTER’S new boss must instill a ‘ruthless streak’ into the players, according to caretaker boss Tom Shaw.
The 30-year-old midfielder – placed in temporary charge for three games before Jon McCarthy’s replacement is appointed – was left ‘absolutely spent’ after seeing his side firstly battle back to equalise at Gateshead on Tuesday night before conceding a 93rd minute own goal off goalkeeper Conor Mitchell to gift the hosts victory.
Chester were excellent in the final 30 minutes of the encounter and levelled up via goals from Ross Hannah and teenage winger Matty Waters, who bagged his first professional goal, and Shaw insists they will ‘quickly climb the table’ once the Blues’ fourth permanent manager since reforming takes charge, with an appointment expected by the middle of next week.
“It (conceding) was a blow but I thought we reacted to it pretty well, we went in at half-time feeling it was harsh we were losing,” said Shaw, who lost Paul Turnbull to a first-half groin injury.
“We had more chances than them first-half. That second goal could’ve killed us off but we’ve got real characters in there.
“I’ve said it before, myself and the previous manager have signed the right players for this club but the manager coming in next week has to get a ruthless streak going within this group, within the squad because there is something in there.
“If we don’t concede tough goals then there’s no reason why the table can’t be climbed really quickly.
“I’ve told the lads, it hurts but just let it hurt for 15 minutes, get back on that bus and forget about it. Then we go to Dover, let’s go there and beat a good team away from home and that would be reward for how hard they’ve worked for me this week.
“We’ll hopefully go and get a decent result down there.”
The Blues shot themselves in the foot for Heed’s second and third goals at the International Stadium but the temporary boss was delighted with the application and attitude from his players to haul themselves back into the clash.
“I’m absolutely spent, gutted, as they’ve given it everything, beyond everything,” continued Shaw.
“I'm on the sideline thinking that the fans back home will be thinking that we've not come and done it at Gateshead and we're 2-0 down but I'm ready to come and talk to you and hope the fans who have come - and it's amazing that they have come up here - tell their mates how well we played.
“They fought back, they put their bodies on the line. They have given it everything for the cause and everything for me.
“I'm just a 30-year-old who has never done it before, on a Tuesday night at the bleakest ground possible and they could easily have not been at 100 per cent, but they have come and given it everything.
“It makes me proud, it should make the club proud to see how the players have come here and dedicated themselves to the cause, to the task, and they didn’t deserve to lose. On the second-half performance we deserved to win it.
“The third goal is a ridiculous goal, I don’t know what you can do, it’s stinking.”
Leaving empty-handed, Shaw described himself as ‘gutted’ for 19-year-old Waters, who netted a cracking equaliser from 20 yards off the bar, and also praised 22-year-old forward Harry White, who came off the bench to set up both Blues’ goals after an injury lay-off.
“I’m gutted for Matty really because the headlines should all be about him,” he added.
“He’s had to bide his time but the game was stretched and I thought this is the one for Matty to find his little pockets of space and what a finish from him, fancied him as soon as it opened up.
“He’s got to keep pushing and pushing and when the new manager comes in next week, he’s got to get at the front of the queue with how he trains because he’s got a big future ahead of him.
“Harry is a good player, he’ll be one of the best in this league once he’s fully fit. You can see the ball sticks when it goes up, he’s a real threat and when he gets goals he’ll be a real focal point for Chester for the rest of this season.”
See full story in the Chester Leader