Gardner lambasts United players
BETHNAL GREEN UNITED manager Justin Gardner has launched a stinging attack on his players after the club suffered a first defeat of the season, as they were beaten 2-0 at Bowers & Pitsea, writes JONATHAN CLEGG. The Greens saw their unbeaten record in the
BETHNAL GREEN UNITED manager Justin Gardner has launched a stinging attack on his players after the club suffered a first defeat of the season, as they were beaten 2-0 at Bowers & Pitsea, writes JONATHAN CLEGG.
The Greens saw their unbeaten record in the Essex Senior League come to an end as first-half goals from Jamie Salmon and Michael Hart helped Bowers to victory.
The outcome sparked a furious reaction from United boss Gardner, who questioned his team's "pride, commitment and hunger" and warned that several regulars will be dropped for this weekend's FA Vase second qualifying match at Old Woodstock Town.
"It's not about the defeat, it's about the performance, which was absolutely shocking. There was no heart, commitment or spirit and that is not acceptable from a team of mine," Gardner said.
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"I don't mind losing - we're going to lose games at this level and there's no shame in that as long as we put our hearts into it and show the determination and spirit that I expect.
"But I will not accept losing games through a lack of effort. There are a few players who I have stayed loyal to since we were promoted, but they've shown me that they're not up to this level.
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"We're playing the biggest match of the club's history on Sunday and there are five or six players who will be out of the team and watching from the sidelines after that performance."
Gardner was forced to make six changes to his starting line-up on Saturday, but the boss accepted no excuses for a performance that ranks as the worst of his managerial reign.
"There are no excuses - the players I put in were good enough in terms of quality, but their attitude was completely wrong," he said.
"The minimum I ask from my players is to show me pride, commitment and hunger, but I didn't see any of those. I won't stand for it.
"I put my heart into this club, I give up my own personal time and the least I expect in return is the same level of commitment from the players who pull on the shirt.
"What I saw on Saturday is hurtful and insulting to me."
Goalkeeper Ashley King, who conceded in the sixth-minute as Salmon gave Bowers the lead, was the only player to emerge with any credit from the defeat.
"Without Ashley, it would have been six or seven," Gardner added.
There was positive news for United's under-18 side, who drew their opening Eastern Junior Alliance match 2-2 with Norsemen.