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Ebbsfleet United manager Dennis Kutrieb reacts to his team's 4-3 National League South defeat at Welling United

Ebbsfleet boss Dennis Kutrieb branded his team’s defending as ‘sloppy’ after they shipped four goals at bottom side Welling on Tuesday night.

The Fleet’s three-game National League South winning streak came to an abrupt end as they produced a defensive display more akin with some of their performances near the start of the season.

Jack Payne on the ball for Ebbsfleet at Welling on Tuesday night. Picture: Keith Gillard
Jack Payne on the ball for Ebbsfleet at Welling on Tuesday night. Picture: Keith Gillard

Kutrieb pointed to the fact that Fleet played with nine men for 30 minutes of Saturday’s impressive 2-1 win at Havant, but he could not hide his disappointment.

“If you score three goals away from home you need to win the game, that’s a matter of fact,” he said.

“My feeling was we lost too much energy on Saturday, some boys were a little bit flat when you can normally see they have enough energy to bring more on the pitch but that was missing.

“But as I say when you score three goals away and that was a big effort from the boys, to come back in the game at 3-3 you can’t concede another goal. That was too sloppy to concede four goals away.

“It’s always alarming because when you concede four goals it is the worst thing away from home.

“It’s not good enough, we were not prepared enough and sharp enough. We felt every chance was a goal, a set-piece, a penalty, it’s hard to take but we can’t waste time to think back now, we need to look forward.

“We will watch the video and show the boys on Thursday and then we will improve on Saturday.”

Young on-loan keeper Gio Bellagambi made some excellent saves but he was caught out on a couple of occasions when rushing out of his area – notably a first-half foul that could have resulted in a red card and then in the build-up for Welling’s winner.

Kutrieb defended his young keeper and was unsure if he should have seen red.

“I was not sure if it was a foul or not, and I was not sure if Goodman was in behind to protect him,” said the Fleet boss. “From my view it was hard to say if it was a red card, or a foul or no foul.

“We have to defend better as a team. I wouldn’t criticise the goalkeeper, of course there were some situations that he could have handled it better but that is normal.

“We had players on the pitch who can handle it better as well so I wouldn’t criticise him too much as he is a young lad. It was not his fault that we lost the game.

“We have to defend better and when we do that then there are no chances for them to score those goals.”

Fleet striker Dominic Poleon hits the post in the second half. Picture: Keith Gillard
Fleet striker Dominic Poleon hits the post in the second half. Picture: Keith Gillard

Fleet were always chasing the game and while Kutrieb praised his players’ spirit, he knew that they had made life hard for themselves.

“We had two big chances in the first two minutes, you have to get the lead,” he said.

“When you start with an early goal perhaps the game will go in another direction. You can manage the game and try to score a second goal.

“It was hard as nearly every chance was a goal, it’s hard to take for me and the boys but we can’t suffer too much because we have another tough game on Saturday.

“When you concede goals too easily, the defending wasn’t good enough, then you can’t win a game away. It doesn’t matter if it is Havant or Welling or who else in the league you need to prepare for every opponent.

“(We were) not focused enough in our defending, and we had this earlier in the season and then we improved, it was (a backward step) again.”

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