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Garry Hill's last press conference as Ebbsfleet manager in full

Garry Hill spoke at length following Tuesday's 4-2 home defeat to Torquay. Here is his entire post-match press conference.

Q. A couple of spells in the game you showed a real fighting spirt and looked like you might get back into it but there was just too much to do?

Garry Hill was sacked as Ebbsfleet boss on Thursday. Picture: Andy Jones
Garry Hill was sacked as Ebbsfleet boss on Thursday. Picture: Andy Jones

A. I think that at the end of the day, any level of football, if you don’t defend properly you get punished. We always ask for consistency, always ask as football managers at all levels for consistency in performances, and I’m afraid the consistency in performances is giving cheap goals away at the start of each half of matches. I felt to find ourselves 2-0 down in the first 15 minutes, not that they worked a good goal, is very disappointing. You have to stay in games early on, it’s very, very important. You can’t knock the effort, you can’t knock the character shown, you can’t knock probably the last 20 minutes of the first half, we played some very good football. We stretched them, we worked them hard. We got probably the best goal of the game to put us back at 2-1.

I think everyone walked in at half-time, even more so Gary Johnson than anybody, knew that we were well on top and they were going to be in for a hard second half. You can’t as a manager, you can’t as a coach, turn round and take responsibility from when you’ve talked in the changing room for 10 minutes and instructed and requested responsibilities to be taken, seeing and making sure you are in the game for the first 10 or 15 minutes of the second half. One minute. One minute. All of a sudden before we clear our heads, another one. Clear our heads, last 20 minutes we get another goal back. Not one possibly two penalties. Josh Umerah should have gone down but was too honest, Gozie Ugwu could have gone down but didn’t go down. They had six shots and scored four.

If you look over a period of time at the games at home, there’s no doubt that anybody can turn around and say the players are not working, showing character. But you can’t in this league continue week in, week out, to be a charity by giving cheap goals away. We’re talking about experienced football players in our back four. We’re talking 700 league games, you look at midfield players, because it’s not just the defence, at least 500 league games. You then look over a period of time and say to yourself, whether it’s at the start of the first half or start of the second half, whether you look at Halifax here, Notts County here, Barrow here, Yeovil here, the start of the second half, today, 10-15 minutes first half, 10-15 minutes second half. They punished us big time and you can’t give teams head starts. If you get two goals at home, no doubt about it, you expect to certainly get some kind of result – at least a draw.

When people looked at the game from 2-1 at half-time, nobody would have legislated, whoever, you are, whatever team you supported, to see that happening at the start of the second half. Within 10 minutes of the second half it was 4-1 – never in a million years was it a 4-1 game. You can’t play catch-up in this league, you honestly can’t play catch-up. Are we getting better with our football? Are we getting better in respect of what we’re trying to do? Yes, the recent signings at the football club over the last month – Jordan Holmes, Tyler Cordner, Josh Payne. I think you see Myles Weston and other players out there who have got experience. They’re not bad players but if you are going to continue to give bad goals away and not defend as a team properly, irrespective of what formation people turn round and look at and play, you have to defend properly. We haven’t defended properly. We’ve got the two best goals and for long periods played some very good football going forward.

Q. If at half-time you get into them and remind them of their responsibilities and you go out and it still goes into thin air is that because they are not switched on? Can you put your finger on it at all?

A. No, if you could put your finger on it you would stop that. What I am basically turning round and saying with the greatest respect is that there are enough leaders, there’s enough experience, as I said with players who have played at a higher level and been around the game long enough to know collectively on a defending point of view – whether that’s the forward line, the midfield area or the back line. Too much charity, too much charity. People must have shook their heads within seven or eight minutes of the second half and said I can’t believe this, how has that happened like that?

Q. But when you see it repeated game after game you must be thinking with all that experience how does that happen?

A. Well you do think that. You see it as supporters, you see it as commentators or reporters, whatever way you look at it. If I knew what the problem was I’d be worth a lot of money because at the end of the day when you look at it as I said to you, quite openly, not one game if you went through the games we’ve played here at home this season. I’m saying Halifax at home in the first 10 minutes, whatever way you look at it, Yeovil scored in the 47th minute, Barrow here first 10 minutes, Barrow second half seven seconds. There are times in games you have to manage, whether that’s early in the game or late in late in the game, you have to manage them. I cannot manage players when they step over that line to take responsibility.

Q. But how long can you put up with it?

A. Well I think at the end of the day it is all the way round to be honest with you. How long do a football club put up with it from a manager’s point of view? How long does a manager put up with it to a certain limit from a players’ point of view? And of course we all know it has been tough and the recruitment has been well behind time. As I said to you when I mention them players, who you look at Jordan Holmes, Tyler Cordner and Josh Payne and other players who have come into the football club, we are getting better and better in respect of the players we’re getting in the door. People like Alex Lawless, who we haven’t seen enough of, Aswad Thomas, who we haven’t seen enough of. Johnny Goodard is now out long-term injury at the present time. We’ve still got Cody McDonald. There’s a lot of good players here but I can’t govern the defending.

All I can turn round and do is, it’s like a car engine really. You have to take some of the parts out and put some other parts in there and hope that sorts the problem out one way or the other. I hope I get that opportunity but I understand football. I’ve been around long enough and at the end of the day you have a situation where you have to keep working at it. Everybody knows I believe in the players but it has come to the stage now where I have to believe in a new line of defence, or defending duties, at the football club. There’s no doubt about that, at the end of the day it’s frustrating.

I’m very pleased for Josh Umerah up top, two great goals. I was very pleased with Myles Weston, I thought he has been different class all season, whether he players left-wing back, up front, left-hand side, right-hand side, he has been a fine example. I think Josh Payne was trying to spread the game about and play. But when we talk to Jordan there, he said gaffer I’ve had six shots at me tonight and four have gone in, I can’t defend that defending.

Q. And Andre Blackman coming in, you must have been pleased with his contribution?

A. He is a quality player, another quality player. We’ve got a left-back in who is available. I don’t know how long Aswad is out for. I hope that some of these players who are injured are going to get back as quick as they can. That is a big concern as we need them players back. We’ve got 30 games to go and we’ve got to win 15 – I shouldn’t be saying that in October but it’s realistic. People don’t know we’ve played 16 games this year and 15 of the top 16. You can catch teams at bad times in the season and you have to play them all, I respect that, but the only team basically before tonight that we hadn’t played was Dagenham in the top 13, 14. It’s been tough but I do see pictures there. You get it at all levels of football, you see it with Nathan Jones at Stoke. You see it at football clubs up and down the country at all levels. I can’t turn around and worry about people turning round and saying I didn’t expect them to be there in the National League. We are where we are but do I think it can turn around? Yes I do, I honestly do believe that. But it might now be a case that defensively we have to change certain things, defensively.

Q: Starting Saturday?

A: Yes, hopefully Saturday, hopefully Saturday straight away. Because as I say things have got to turn around and give the football club a chance to recover. As I say I think we are getting better and better in respect of players coming in the door. I think we are getting better when you see Josh Umerah getting fitter and fitter up top. I think Gozie and him worked very well tonight. I think Josh Payne will do very well here, he knows how to manage the game in the middle of midfield, he knows how to spray the ball about, he knows how to slow the game down. He knows how to play the game. There’s a lot of good players here. I hope that going into Saturday’s game that we will have a team out there which will win the game Saturday. I do honestly think that if we play to our strengths and defend properly I think we will beat Maidenhead on Saturday, I do believe that.

Q: Kevin Watson has come in to be your coach and that’s a different voice on the training field and a bit more help for you?

A: Look, at the end of the day I’m not out there to put situations out there in the public. Ian Hendon worked very, very hard at the football club in respect of working with me. Sometimes relationships become strained, sometimes you make a decision to change it. I made that decision to change it. At the end of the day, that’s where it is. That happens in football. I also take a view that some players have got to come in the door because if they don’t come in the door or (are) seen to come in the door, as a manager you put your own rope there to be hung, that’s where it is. But fetching in Andre Blackman today and Josh Payne on Saturday, and you see a situation where Tomi has come in up top.

At the back, I’d like to feel there’s another player that we’ve got in mind to come in for the weekend. I’ve made decisions and players have to settle in at football clubs. Is it a panic time? I wouldn’t say it’s a panic time but it is a time now where we have to get results because whatever way you look at it. They are a good side going forward but they are not world beaters, who what we got beat by tonight. But what they did have in the final third, they took their chances well, we respect that, but as a group they defended well better than us. If you don’t defend well, you are in trouble. So we have to keep going.

Q The first goal that you scored was some cracking football and it was brave from your team as they played out from the back when in the first half-hour, so many balls didn’t go where they were meant to?

A. Well, you have to do that. What I’m basically saying is saying at the end of the day, we played some good football at times, some very good football at times, but there was never that scoreline in the picture. There wasn’t a situation where they should have been 4-1 up or they should have been 2-0 up. If you looked at the football brand from after the first 15 minutes of the first half and after the first 15 minutes of the second half I thought we played very well, going forward.

Q: The goals for Josh as well, they will do his confidence good?

A: They are good goals. I’m hoping so but let’s prepare now for Saturday.

Q; What is John Goddard’s injury?

A: Ankle injury there, he’s got a situation now where he’s got to go in and have an operation. We’ve got a situation with Aswad Thomas, we’ve got a situation with other players but you know at the end of the day we got punished tonight big time by sloppy defending which is costing us dear as a club.

Q: You mention there about your own future as well, touching on whether you’ll get time?

A: Don’t put words into my mouth. I’ve been in the game 30 years and there ain’t many managers who will turn around and deal with what I’ve had to deal with but I keep my head clean, I keep my powder dry, I keep things in house in order and there ain’t many people that will stand here after a game. I haven’t become a bad manager overnight. I’m still as honest as what I was over 30 years. But all I would turn round and say is that it is a results business but there is a structure at the football club which hopefully that position turns round and changes.

But, hey, what is football, what is football? At the end of the day, I have a more important thing in life than football and at the end of the day that will always be my family. But at the end of the day I want to keep my job, I enjoy it at the football club. The supporters I think overall have been absolutely different class, they are frustrated but I think they also want to realise that since I have come in and working with Dave Archer they are very, very lucky to have a football club, believe me.

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