Thursday, April 25, 2024

Neil Warnock bemoans Aberdeen’s lack of physicality after loss at Kilmarnock

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 24 Feb 2024

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Neil Warnock claimed his Aberdeen players were too nice after being “bullied” in a 2-0 defeat at Kilmarnock.

The Dons manager admitted the performance looked “pathetic” and questioned whether he could do anything about their major weakness during his spell in charge until the end of the season.

Corrie Ndaba shook off the attentions of Bojan Miovski to head home the opener in first-half stoppage-time and Matty Kennedy netted against his former club as Killie enjoyed a comfortable second half.

The Dons are now without a win in eight cinch Premiership games, four of them under Warnock, and are as close to the bottom two as they are the top six with five points separating them either way.

Warnock said: “I just think it’s the physical aspect – we haven’t got any physical presence really in the whole squad.

“I don’t think we did too bad in the first half regarding the way they play and how we competed, because they are a lot more physical than us.

“But to give a goal away like that sends you in at half-time heads down. Bojan’s defending, it’s simple, he has just got to stop with his man.

“But the second half, I was disappointed.

“We haven’t got many players who have an edge on them. How many times did they leave a foot in and the referee didn’t do anything?

“We need one or two nasty people at times. That’s going to be the biggest problem in the next few months, getting the recruitment right.

“They’re all nice lads. I can’t fault them for being nice lads but you want a bit of nastiness in the team.

“You want people standing up to be counted but they’re not there. I can’t force that on them.”

Warnock, who was the only man in the visiting team to get booked, added: “We got bullied. I wouldn’t want to watch that every week, if I’m honest, but they played to their strengths and you have to match that.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a team that’s been bullied in my time but you can’t put into some players what they haven’t got.

“Believe it or not, most of those players would have tried, it just looks pathetic at times. Most of the lads were trying their hardest, they are just too nice.”

Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes felt there was more to his side’s dominance than the physical nature.

“I thought we were good at what we did,” McInnes said. “There is always an element in Scottish football where you have to stand up for yourself and be physical but we were more than that. I think it would be wrong for that to be the only talking point.

“I thought we settled on the ball, we fed our wide players time and again.

“We showed a lot of good attributes and being physical and standing up for yourself is always part of that.”

McInnes added: “We had 16 shots inside their box. For only two to go in means it was not the perfect afternoon.

“We passed up some good chances, but anytime a Kilmarnock team can beat Aberdeen 2-0, you have to take that.”

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