Dundalk first team coach John Gill has called on supporters to get behind the team despite their current difficulties.
A 3-1 defeat against Sligo Rovers, coupled with Finn Harps’ victory over Waterford at the weekend means that no team has taken less points since the restart than the Lilywhites.
Another poor display in The Showgrounds has led to further criticism of players but Gill said he feels this is unwarranted.
“They’re magnificent players but they’re coming in from a lot of unwarranted criticism I feel.
“Some of these players have been magnificent for this football club over the last eight years. We need our supporters to be positive with them and be as helpful as they can with them. They don’t become bad footballers or bad people overnight.
“They’re great people and they’re hurting big time. Really hurting.”
In the wake of Vinny Perth’s sacking, Gill admitted the club needed to get the next appointment right but refused to be drawn on whether he would be staying on at Oriel.
“It’s an important few weeks for the club that they get the next appointment right and we’ll see where that goes.
“I haven’t even thought about my own role.
“I’ve just been asked to take the team for today, which I did. I’ll speak to the owners and take it from there. I suspect there will be an appointment hopefully made this week and then it’s down to that individual what way he approaches things.”
Gill said he was ‘devastated’ when news broke of Perth’s sacking.
“I’m devastated for Vinny because I know how hard he worked but again it doesn’t help when certain aspects of the media are going after him.
“This is a guy who was a penalty kick away from winning a quadruple seven months ago. Eight games ago he was a league-winning manager so I think he deserves a little bit more respect from certain aspects of the media and a little bit more tolerance because what he has done for this football club has been absolutely magnificent.”
Gill admitted the result in Sligo was disappointing.
“Again, we gave away sloppy goals which come back to haunt you and we missed a penalty. I can’t fault the players for effort but what you can maybe fault them for is a bit of execution.
“Luck has a big part to play in football and we’re just down on our luck at the moment but what we’ve got to do is dig ourselves out of it and try to get out of the self pity pot. We need to brush ourselves down and focus on the next game. That’s all we can do.
“It’s been a tough week and tough few weeks for the club. There’s never been an excuse mode here. We could go into a number of reasons why, where and when but all we can do is be professional, dust ourselves down and get ready to go again and try to get back to the levels that we know we can play at. In patches of the game we did get back to parts of what we can. We missed a great chance in the first half and we missed a penalty. These are things that you need to go for you when you are dominant because I thought we had started the game quite well but we gave away a silly free kick. I thought we could have done better on the free kick but that’s what happens when you’re down there.
“I thought in patches of the game we did quite well but we just can’t keep a clean sheet. It’s the polar opposite of where we were last year. We built a foundation last year on keeping clean sheets and we had an outrageous number of clean sheets. We just haven’t been able to do that this year for whatever reason.
“It’s not through lack of effort or lack of work. We’ve been punished for individual errors.”
Asked about reasons for the sudden slump in form, Gill said he had raised them with the owners.
“There’s a number of things and I won’t go into them now. I’ve gone into that with the owners.
“There’s a number of reasons why but now is not the time or place to go into them. You can make excuses but the fact of the matter is that they’re a great bunch of players, we have got good owners who have backed the club but at the moment it’s just not happening for us.
“It’s a difficult one to put your finger on but it’s not through lack of effort. These are a magnificent bunch of players and a great bunch of people. That doesn’t change. What they are is a bunch of people who are probably low in confidence, which happens us all at some point in our own day to day lives. Life doesn’t go in straight lines and either does football.”
Gill said all focus was now on Sunday’s FAI Cup clash with Cobh Ramblers at St Colman’s Park (kick-off 5pm).
“I’m not even looking at the league. The next game is Cobh next Sunday so let’s try and go win that game first.
“There’s still a huge amount to play for this season but the first thing we’ve got to do is try to get a bit of confidence back into the group. Losing your leader affected the group this week, there’s no doubt about that. It has affected them greatly,” he said.