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Andy Hessenthaler says senior players let Dover Athletic down during 5-0 home defeat to Aldershot in the National League

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Furious Dover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler was left hurting by a lack of effort in their 5-0 home thrashing by Aldershot on Tuesday night.

Whites suffered a third successive National League defeat but it was the level of their performance at Crabble which alarmed Hessenthaler.

Dover defender Will De Havilland. Picture: Keith Gillard (42694917)
Dover defender Will De Havilland. Picture: Keith Gillard (42694917)

“It's not acceptable and I take full responsibility as I pick the team,” said Hessenthaler.

“That starting XI was a strong team but it looked like we didn't want to play to be honest.

“It looked like we wanted the game off and there was hint that it could be off because of the pitch. What's not acceptable is that they wanted it more than what we did.

“I was brought up as a player that you've got to give everything you can, things might go against you, you might have a bad time with the football, but what you don't do is you don't give up, you work hard from the start to the finish.

“They out-worked us and it was an embarrassing night.”

Hessenthaler was in doubt about who should be taking more responsibility within his squad.

He was forced to play youngster Will Moses in defence but the youngster emerged with credit amid a dreadful display.

“I can't have that because it's not me as a person,” added Hessenthaler. “The type of manager I am, you've got to give me everything you can and they've not done that.

“To be fair, there's six players out of that 11 that have played at this level and above and for me they are the ones that let us down.

“There's some that haven't played at this level. We've got a 17-year-old kid out there who is going back to school tomorrow and he was better than Will De Havilland. What example does that set to a youngster? It's not fair on him.

“That’s what is disappointing, the Oscar Goberns of this world have got to do far better than that. It just showed that we're not good enough, or are we good enough and we just didn't turn up and run around?

“You have to run around, you have to go from start to finish and their players wanted it more than ours and that's what really hurts me.”

It’s been a troubled summer at Dover with uncertainty over the club’s future and players told they can leave the club failing to agree wage cuts.

“I'm not going to hide behind that,” stated Hessenthaler.

“It has been difficult in terms of the situation with players having to take a pay cut which hasn't happened. It doesn't matter what players are getting paid, I expect them to run around. I'm not going to hide behind how things are.

“They've proved against Notts County and for spells against Bromley and 45 minutes at Stockport that they can do it. We are capable and it was like we just had to turn up.

“I'm not making excuses, we just weren't at it and we've got to do something about that.”

With three defenders ruled out through injury, Hessenthaler’s options appear limited but he’ll expect a positive response from the senior members of his squad.

He added: “We can't bring players in. Honestly, I'd rather play the younger players if the senior ones are going to serve up that. They will run out and they will make honest mistakes.

“I've told them in there, I'm not telling you (something new). They've heard it from me in there. I'm honest and I'll be honest with them all the time. I'll praise them but I can't praise them after that.

“We're fortunate that there's no fans in here, I know they can watch it on the stream and I'm sure they turned it off after half-time, and I don't blame them for that.

“We've got some work to do as staff and players. We've got to pick a team, what it will be I don't know. I've got to be critical of them, I can't say well done. I'm critical of myself and my staff as well, we pick the team but I didn't expect them to produce that.

“I'm not going to panic, it's four games in. Aldershot celebrated like they won the FA Cup but it's early days. It's worrying times because of the amount of goals we're shipping.”

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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