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Ebbsfleet United manager Dennis Kutrieb addresses defensive shortcomings in Gateshead defeat ahead of home game with Kidderminster Harriers

Ebbsfleet manager Dennis Kutrieb has reminded his side not to lose their attacking mindset.

The Fleet have had a mixed start to life in the National League, winning two and losing two of their first four games.

Ebbsfleet defender Chris Solly gets tight to Gateshead's former Dartford striker Marcus Dinanga on Saturday. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC
Ebbsfleet defender Chris Solly gets tight to Gateshead's former Dartford striker Marcus Dinanga on Saturday. Picture: Ed Miller/EUFC

They went down 4-1 at Gateshead last weekend, unusually giving away some cheap goals when conceding possession cheaply.

There was also a blunder by keeper Mark Cousins that helped the hosts go ahead early in the second half, although Kutrieb was keen to point out that there was a collective responsibility.

“It was a very good game of football, very technical and not so much intensity,” said Kutrieb.

“We got punished for easy mistakes which we’ve rarely made before but on the day we just made too many.

“We’ve already spoken about it, we did a video session. At the end of the day, Mark Cousins with the second goal was just the last instance.

“We could have done much better five, four, three or two passes before - that was just the last little one. We obviously did the biggest mistake then but we could have done much better before because initially, we started on the halfway line.

“We broke their press, going from the right to the left but instead of going forward, we went back to the keeper. That’s already the mistake where we need to get better.

“If you don’t need to go back to the goalkeeper, then don’t do it. As simple as that. We’ve addressed it and the boys are positive. It won’t happen often so maybe from that point of view it’s out of the way now.

“If you want to score a goal, you need to go forward anyway. There are times, and the boys understand it very well already, that you need to go back but if it’s not necessary then we don’t want to go back. In this case, it was not necessary to go back. We want to go forward if we can.”

Kutrieb won’t abandon his football philosophy and pointed out that there were also basic errors made in the Premier League at the weekend that gifted goals to opponents.

“You always have to have it in your head that it will happen at some point because it’s football,” added the Fleet boss.

“You need to make sure it doesn’t happen often but at some point, it will always happen.

“I saw a goal in the Premier League which was similar when they tried to play it back and the ball was short, leaving their opponent one on one with the keeper.

“That’s how football works and if you want to play and do things how we will do them, then it can happen even if you don’t like it.”

Fleet striker Dominic Poleon sent a late penalty crashing against the underside of the bar.

Kutrieb wasn’t reading too much into it, but on the back of several misses from the spot last season and Josh Wright seeing a penalty saved in pre-season, it’s an area that needs improvement.

“Maybe we need to do our next recruitment for someone who has a 100 per cent penalty success rate!” said Kutrieb.

“We never needed to really rely on penalties in the past, it was always a case of we could moan about it but it doesn’t really matter. Now we need to make sure we find someone who is able to put the ball in the back of the net.

“If it was a pressure penalty when we’re one-up, 1-1 or one-down it would be a different story. At 4-1, it’s not making a difference. It’s similar to Josh Wright in pre-season, it doesn’t matter for me.

“Yes, we have to do better, it’s as simple as that. It’s a free shot from 12 yards so it has to be a goal regardless of who it is. I’m not putting massive focus on it as there’s enough people in our squad who will do it, I’m sure Dom is still confident enough. We will be fine.”

The Fleet host Kidderminster on Saturday and then travel to Barnet on Bank Holiday Monday.

They’ve had a free week but with two matches in quick succession, it hasn’t felt that way to the manager.

“After Saturday we have Monday so it doesn’t feel like we have time this week,” noted Kutrieb.

“It’s a short turnaround as that’s 48 hours later which is ridiculous. We have two games in three days so we have one week to prepare for them, that’s how it feels.”

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