Westley lays into his Stevenage side

Graham Westley on the sidelines against MK Dons. Photo: Harry Hubbard

Graham Westley on the sidelines against MK Dons. Photo: Harry Hubbard - Credit: Archant

Boro boss blasts attitude, fitness and performance after seeing his side lose their last three matches of the League 1 season

GRAHAM Westley has laid into his side after a dismal end to the season, adding that plans are already afoot for plenty of change in the summer.

The Stevenage manager had said before Saturday’s game at home to MK Dons that he wanted his side to finish on a high, but instead his side finished on a whimper as the visitors won 2-0 and it should have been more but for some fine saves from Chris Day.

Afterwards Westley pulled no punches, saying that he has not enjoyed working with the attitudes that exist in the changing room and adding that he will not tolerate watching that type of performance from the dugout.

“In a lot of respects I think we are quite fortunate that [the season] did end as it did because let’s face facts; I’ve had five games here and what I’ve watched is pretty much what I saw [against MK Dons],” Westley said.


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“A side that isn’t fit enough, that lacks a lot of the basics, we don’t defend with any sense of professionalism, we don’t attack with any real drive or sense of belief.

“It’s been a tough, tough five games. I’m glad we got the points early, I’m glad we did the job against the bottom four sides and got ourselves out of the mire.

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“I think everybody knows at the football club that there is a lot of work to do. I don’t plan standing in the dugout and watching that every weekend.

“We just can’t keep anything going can we? We’ve got no fitness in our bodies.

“I had to come in and be measured in what I did. I had to get some points. We knew we needed to get those points in the Hartlepool game and the Portsmouth game, and I’m glad we did because knowing the way the side had been playing it worried me about trying to get the points against the better sides, I have to say.

“Look at the record that exists. I’ve bit my tongue and I’ve tried to be constructive with them, tried to be positive with them.

“I’ve not enjoyed coming in day in day out and working with the attitudes that are there, and with the level of fitness and desire and hunger to get better that’s there. There’s so much that needs to improve.

“There are people who are going to have to change their attitudes; there’s players that will leave, and there’s a rebirth needed.

“There’s some very, very good players in there that just aren’t at the level that they are capable of and if you haven’t put the fitness in your body you can’t use it, no matter who you are.

“The basics just aren’t there, you look at the side and there just isn’t the ability to put one foot in front of the other. And if you can’t put one foot in front of the other you can’t play football.”

Asked if there were any positives to take from Saturday’s defeat, Westley replied that he could now do something about the way the club has been performing.

“You’ve got to choose what message you want to create and frankly if I was watching that as a Stevenage fan, the question I’d be asking is ‘what’s he thinking about that?’, Westley said.

“And I’m not going to pussyfoot around; I’m not going to try and convince anybody who watched that it’s anywhere near good enough because it’s not.

“The positive from my point of view is that we’re at the end of the season and we’ve got a chance to do something about it. We’ve got a chance to start again.

“I’m not going to stand in this dugout and watch that level of contribution. People go to work and earn good money to come and watch this football club and the one thing they know about Stevenage is you turn up and you watch Stevenage and there’s a pride, and there’s passion, there’s a togetherness, there’s a fight.

“If anyone ever gets anything they have to earn it, and don’t tell me that MK Dons had to earn anything out there.

“The work has been underway. We’ve been in a fortunate position being safe a little time now I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, a lot of planning and you don’t get to a position where you’ve got a winning football team without a lot of hard work and a lot of hard early work so I’ve been trying to do the work already and hopefully we will start to see in the coming weeks some changes around the place.

“We’ve got to get back to a winning way.”

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