"It can't continue, absolutely can't continue" says Millington after Woking defeat leaves Shaymen bottom

Chris Millington. Photo: Marcus BranstonChris Millington. Photo: Marcus Branston
Chris Millington. Photo: Marcus Branston
Town manager Chris Millington says the situation is now urgent after The Shaymen slumped to the bottom of the National League table with their 4-0 defeat at home to Woking.

Halifax have lost seven of their first 11 games of the season, and have conceded ten goals in their last three matches, with their dreadful start to the campaign showing no signs of improvement.

"It's become urgent that it's got to turn around, for a number of reasons," said Millington.

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"If we want to do anything this season, clearly it's got to turn around immediately, because we're costing ourselves points.

"The club deserves to be in a better position.

"The hard work that's gone in over the last three years is rapidly being undone by a lack of care and a lack of desire, and that's certainly not a lack of care and a lack of desire on my part.

"I have to look around and pinpoint who's got the same level of care and desire and wants to deliver what I believe this club deserves.

"And it's got to happen quickly, clearly, because it's a results business and if we don't get the results then we don't get what we want."

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When asked who was to blame for the club's awful start, Millington said: "It's a collective. I've recruited these lads, I've believed in them, I've been responsible for persuading the chairman to sign them and they obviously are tasked with going and delivering on a Saturday afternoon and they're not doing that at the moment.

"So between me and the players, we're all falling short at the minute and we've got to put it right."

Woking raced into a two goal lead, adding another two after half-time to cruise to a comfortable victory.

"It starts at half one when we have our pre-match meeting and we go through the opposition and we remind the lads of what we've worked on, why we've worked on it and what they need to do," said Millington.

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"One of the clear messages was 'slow them down on set plays and restarts', 'slow them down, get into position quickly and be prepared' and on two occasions we failed to do that.

"As we predicted from the analysis, they would hurt us in that sense, so it starts at half one and then by the time we're 2-0 down, it's predictable, it's avoidable.

"It's got to be up to the players, we've enough experienced lads on the pitch to get that organised and we failed to do it."

On whether he felt his side would get back into the match at any point after falling behind, the Town boss said: "I always thought we'd have an opportunity to, and I think we have had opportunities.

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"We've put balls into the box, we've got in and around their area, we've penetrated the back line at times, but then there's nowhere near the same level of determination to get on the end of things that Woking show, or Aldershot two weeks ago, or other teams show, to finish the chances off.

"That's the difference."

Millington said he could take no positives from the match.

"None, no there's no positives after that.

"If it was a blip then we could possibly look for some positives in it, but it's not a blip because it's a repeat of the Aldershot performance."

The Town boss didn't disclose exactly what had been said to the players after the game, but said they were falling short in their performance levels.

"I won't share the exact words because I don't think they'd be fit for print, but the message to them is that it's not good enough to talk a good game, they've actually got to go out and provide it.

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"It's not good enough to say 'I care', 'I want to win' and 'I want to do this and I can offer this and that to the team' and then not go and provide it.

"That ultimately is what it comes down to.

"We thought we'd recruited good characters in terms of the determination, resilience, effort and application, we thought we'd recruited good enough footballers to go and threaten the top end of the division, and we thought these lads were going to deliver that for us, and at the moment they're not delivering what we're asking them to deliver."

Millington says it is in both boxes where Town's main issues lie as a team.

"I've not seen the stats but I'd argue we've probably shaded the possession, I think we've probably shaded the penalty box entries, or in and around the same number as Woking, but we've not looked anywhere near the threat that they have," he said.

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"When they've got the ball into our box, you feel there's a chance they're going to hurt us, when we get the ball into their box we're just hoping for it to drop to somebody to get a clear sight of goal, we don't seem to be making that happen.

"You'd put it down to what goes off in both boxes, that's the first thing we've got to get right.

"But there's other things too of course."

When asked what the answer to Town's woes were, Millington said: "I think more effort, but I think that comes out of belief, which you see draining out of them in the second-half, there's not that grim determination that we've had in the past to stay in a game and stay with it and go and win a game in the last 15 minutes.

"Often by the last 15 minutes there seems to be that resignation to the fact that we're not going to win games.

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"That's what I've got to get into them, is a determination and a doggedness to go and stay in a game long enough to then give ourselves a chance to go on and win it late on if that's what it takes."

The full-time whistle was greeted with boos at The Shay as the home fans showed their unhappiness.

"I get it, I get it. Listen, they're no more unhappy than me and the other staff," Millington said.

"It hurts us and now the situation we're in will be ever-present in my mind between now and York City, and it won't go away.

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"I won't get any respite from playing through the scenarios to try and fix it.

"It's certainly not a situation any of us at the club are enjoying, and I absolutely fully understand what the fans are feeling.

"Those frustrations are going to be largely targeted at me, I'm sure the players will have to bear some of the frustrations of the fans but the majority will be targeted at me and I fully get that because I'm the one who's in charge and I've got to make it right."

Millington retains belief that he's still the right man for the job.

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"Clearly I've made mistakes otherwise we wouldn't be in the position we're in," he said.

"Those mistakes are more around my expectation of players we've brought in.

"I know the approach we take as a staff works because I've been part of it for the last three years and not a huge amount has changed, if anything I'd say we work harder to cover more bases.

"But I've got to prove it because at the moment it's not working.

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"Whether that be working harder to find the right players to come and deliver what we're trying to deliver, or working harder to draw out what I believe is inside some of these players that we've got within the squad, then one way or another I've got to make it right."

When asked what he'd say to fans who may have lost their belief and trust in the side, Millington said: "It's now down to us. It's about what we deliver and trying to make sure we give a performance on Tuesday night that begins to start to rebuild that hope and that trust, because t's understandable that they're questioning things at the moment."

The Town boss admitted The Shaymen are in relegation form.

"It is at the moment. It's still relatively early days, and I say that cautiously because I don't want to give the impression that we think it's a short-term blip because clearly there have been too many performances where we've not been up to scratch," he said.

"But it can't continue, absolutely can't continue. It's got to improve, so that's the objective going into Tuesday."

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Osayamen Osawe was taken off with a hamstring half-an-hour into his first start for the club.

When asked if he could be in contention for Tuesday's game against York, Millington said: "Don't know yet, he'll be assessed and then we'll have a look at it and make a decision on team selection on Monday."

Angelo Capello missed the game after his Achilles was stood on in training, while Matty Warburton sustained a knee injury in training.

"He's had an injury running up to the Eastleigh game," Millington said of Capello, "him and Matty Warburton had both suffered knocks in training, they got themselves through the Eastleigh game but they've struggled to train properly this week so weren't available for selection."

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On the absences of Rob Harker and Jordan Slew, Millington said: "Rob was off Thursday and Friday with flu-like symptoms and it seems that Jordan's come down with that overnight, so neither of them were available for selection.

"All have got a chance but equally it wouldn't be a surprise if none of them were available."

Looking ahead to Tuesday's home game against York, when asked how he will pick his players up for the game, Millington said: "I think maybe we worry a bit too much about picking them up and they've got to pick themselves up.

"We provide for them everything and more than most teams in terms of the information and in terms of how we prepare them for games, how we prepare them for opposition and it's time for one or two of them to step up now and prepare themselves, get themselves right mentally to go into battle and do the right thing for the club."

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Town chairman David Bosomworth publicly backed Millington in his programme notes, saying the manager needs more time.

"From day one David's been fantastic," Millington said, "he's been very supportive and shared his experience and his knowledge with me, and has always been supportive and understood why I was making decisions.

"He's desperate for the club to be successful and he believes that's going to come through consistency and having a long-term plan, and that's what I'm endeavouring to provide.

"He's right, in the short-term it's ben extremely challenging and we've got to put it right quickly.

"But he's been fantastic from day one and will make every decision along the way with the best interests of the club at heart, which I've got every respect for."

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