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Ebbsfleet United manager Dennis Kutrieb reacts to 2-1 home defeat by Havant in National League South

Ebbsfleet boss Dennis Kutrieb refused to give too much away about events post-match following Havant’s 2-1 win on Saturday.

Havant manager Paul Doswell was seen in long conversation with referee Richie Watkins both at half-time and after the full-time whistle at Stonebridge Road. Kutrieb ‘shook hands’ with members of the Havant management team - except Doswell - after the game.

Ebbsfleet manager Dennis Kutrieb. Picture: Keith Gillard
Ebbsfleet manager Dennis Kutrieb. Picture: Keith Gillard

Ebbsfleet, including manager Kutrieb, were still on the field at the time and there then appeared to be an incident between both parties, which left the Fleet boss visibly angry.

There was already bad blood between the clubs after their last meeting saw three red cards on the pitch and both managers also sent from the dugouts in February, 2021.

“It’s tough for me to speak about it,” admitted Ebbsfleet boss Kutrieb.

“Last season we experienced at their place some bad things and other authorities dealt with it or are trying to deal with it at the moment. I don’t want to say too much but it happened again.

“That’s really hard to take because if we win or lose that’s easy for me. Of course, I hate losing but I can take it because we played a good game. But all other things are not for me and it’s not football. It’s (about being a) human being and behaving in the right way.

“I see every player taking the knee and everyone is aware of it and you talk about it, but as long as you have people that don’t care about it then you don’t need to do it from my point of view.

“Hopefully other people can deal with it a bit quicker than last time. I don’t know if the referees are brave enough to do something, sometimes they are, sometimes they are not.

“In football when you experience different things and things which can hurt people and human beings, not managers, not players, it doesn’t matter if black, if white, if German, if English, when you want to take the knee to show everyone in the world we are aware of it, but if we’re honest then we’re not aware of it.”

Following that game in February, Doswell was charged by the Football Assocation.

The charge, published on the FA website only in the past week, says "Breach of FA Rule E3.1 - It is alleged that in or around the 42nd minute of the fixture, the Participant’s language and/or behaviour was abusive and/or insulting and/or improper, contrary to Rule E3.1. It is further alleged that this breach of FA Rule E3.1 is an “Aggravated Breach” as defined in Rule E3.2, as it included a reference (express or implied) to nationality. The Participant has until 26 August 2021 to provide a response."

As for the game on Saturday, Fleet boss Kutrieb admitted their slow start came back to bite them. The hosts were 2-0 down inside the first six minutes as they lost their unbeaten record in National League South.

“I need to watch it back but you can’t concede such an easy goal,” said Kutrieb, reflecting on Tommy Wright’s second-minute opener.

“If you make mistakes and the opponent is good to punish then you go down one or two goals. You could lose this game easily three, four or five-nil after you go two goals down but we fought the whole of the first half. We got our goal and waited for the second one but it didn’t come.

“If you concede in a big game two early goals then it’s tough to come back. Fortunately, we got one back before half-time and I thought second half we’d score again but we couldn’t. It’s a tough one to take as I thought we played a good game, I was happy with the boys for their efforts. They fought hard as a team and tried for each other but in a big game you can’t afford to sleep for the first 10 minutes.”

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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