Marcus Bignot admitted he agreed with Chester’s fans who turned on the players in the wake of their FA Cup exit at Kidderminster Harriers.
Goals from Emmanuel Sonupe and Joe Ironside condemned Chester to a dismal 2-0 defeat and exit at the fourth qualifying round of the competition, but that didn’t tell the whole story against the side a division below the Blues in National League North.
Chester’s players produced an abysmal performance – one of the worst since the club reformed – with the 522 travelling supporters making their feelings known at full-time with boos, jeers and chants of ‘what a load of rubbish’ and ‘what a waste of money’.
Bignot took his players across to the Blues faithful at full-time, ordering them to sit down and take the criticism from the fans for around 15 minutes after the final whistle, and he explained there should be no hiding place for the squad he inherited.
“Some people said I should have brought the players off, but why hide? They have got to face up to it,” said Bignot, taking charge of the Blues for just the fourth game.
“It’s disappointing first and foremost to be out of the cup as we knew the importance of it, but it was the manner of it, I’m hugely disappointed.
“Obviously you’re going to be disappointed when you lose matches but the manner of it, it’s anger inside.
“I agree with them (the supporters). Their calls, shouts, judging on today you’ve got to agree with them. But as a manager, you can agree with them and join the bandwagon, or I can try to build them back up again.
“We have got great supporters, it was never going to be a case of stewards being worried that this could escalate, no, they were voicing their opinion.
“They have every right, they have paid their hard-earned money and have every right to voice their opinion, and I believe my players should hear that opinion.
“Too many players - and I'm talking footballers in general - get in the car, go home and don't care. So we go back to character and let's hope they do care and that we see a response on Saturday.
“This can't become a common theme, hopefully it's just a blip, and we will do everything in our power to make sure that it's just a blip.
“I inherited these players, they’re here. Kidderminster are full-time, we’re not and if we continue not to be full-time that’s the kind of performance and results you get.
“Prior to the second goal, Jordan Chapell has a great chance, a free header, and doesn’t hit the target. If memory serves me right they didn’t have many other chances in the second-half but our players showed us no belief they could get back in the game. All it needs is a restart or a mistake but it wasn’t there, we were short today.”
Asked whether his players had produced a ‘heartless’ performance, Bignot disagreed but admitted it could have been perceived that his players weren’t concerned about an early cup exit.
“I don’t think any player puts in a display where they say ‘I’m not going to bother’. But that gives the impression that (they are heartless) from the outside looking in,” he explained.
“Let’s have a look at some of those Kidderminster players, they should be in the Football League, never mind the National League. When I talk about the physicality, we couldn’t live with some of their players physically.
“Some of our lads physical attributes do not match the person you’re up against and we lost the game in terms of pace and power. They have it in abudance and we haven’t.”
Bignot confirmed post-match that his players would be in four days a week from Monday onwards, training on a ‘full-time programme’ after their dreadful performance at Kidderminster.
“We need to go full-time and I’ve told the boys it’s going to be a full-time programme starting from Monday. It has to be. You can’t expect to compete at National (League) level, never mind in the North, where there’s six or seven full-time teams,” he added.
“We have to be full-time, and once we get full-time that takes any excuses away from the players. If we get performances like that after we’ve gone full-time then they’ll see a different side to me.
“But at the moment I’m not going to rip shreds off them because I need them. I’m going to need every single player because this is the group we’ve got. I can lambast them, I can smash their confidence but that’s no good.
“By coming in on a full-time programme, we can work harder and make sure we’re hard to beat. That was too easy for them today.”
See full story in the Chester Leader