GARY Waddock urged Oxford United’s players to judge themselves after admitting he had concerns over both ends of the pitch following Monday’s defeat at Southend United.
A third successive 3-0 away reverse, all against promotion rivals, increased the pressure on United’s place in the Sky Bet League Two play-offs.
Waddock had only taken one training session before the game at Roots Hall after being named as head coach on Saturday.
And with a trip to Dagenham & Redbridge this weekend, opportunities to begin implementing his ideas are limited.
Waddock asked for opinions in the changing room at Southend and the new man believes it has to start with an honest assessment from the players.
He said: “It’s been a quick turnaround from Friday to Monday, with my appointment as well.
“We’ll have little time from now until Saturday, so the players have to dust themselves down, have a look in the mirror and see if they did enough for the club.”
He added: “I will pick the bones out of the DVD, then sit down with the players, address it and pick a team for the weekend.”
The main problem is knowing where to start. United have scored just six goals in eight games, while conceding 16.
When asked which department needed more attention, Waddock was clear.
He said: “Both, because if you can’t keep clean sheets and defend properly and you can’t then go and score in the final third, you don’t expect to win football matches. “We will need to improve drastically in those areas.
“It’s how you react and we will be reacting in a positive manner on the training ground.”
The former Wycombe Wanderers boss felt he had learned a lot more about his players at Southend than from Friday’s 1-0 win over Hartlepool United.
His task was not helped by having to make three enforced changes.
Andy Whing, who cramped up late on in his first game for four months, and match-winner David Connolly both impressed.
But like Ryan Williams (calf), they were unable to start two games in four days as Waddock had one eye on the upcoming schedule.
He added: “A few of the lads had bumps and bruises and a few little niggles. “We have a heavy programme coming up in terms of games, so I didn’t want to take any chances with those players.”