Manager John Sheridan wants Plymouth Argyle to play with more bravery
MANAGER John Sheridan has admitted Plymouth Argyle are putting themselves under pressure with their own mistakes.
Sheridan wants to see the Pilgrims' players show more bravery when they are on the ball as they fight to pick up points to stave off the threat of relegation from the Football League.
Argyle were unbeaten in Sheridan's first four matches as manager before they lost 1-0 to Oxford United in a dreadful display at Home Park on Saturday.
However, Sheridan does not believe the Pilgrims, bolstered by seven new recruits since he took charge, have played well in any of those games.
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Sheridan is frustrated the players cannot reproduce what they do in training when they take to the pitch for a competitive match.
He told Herald Sport: "We do passing drills, and touch and everything, and they do it well, to be fair to them.
"They look bright in training and when it comes to the match I see the ball bouncing off people and passing it the wrong side of people.
"Our biggest problem since I have been here is we don't keep the ball long enough.
"If you don't keep it the opposition are going to put you under pressure. We don't keep the ball long enough.
"I have been putting it in their heads 'we need to keep the ball longer' but it's our biggest downfall.
"If it keeps happening, obviously changes are going to have to be made."
Argyle are only one point outside the League Two relegation zone after losing to Oxford.
They are away to promotion-chasing Northampton Town on Saturday before playing two of their relegation rivals.
Argyle will travel to AFC Wimbledon next Tuesday and then host Barnet on March 2, so it promises to be a crucial couple of weeks for the Pilgrims.
Sheridan said: "It doesn't matter who you play, they are all tough games. We know we are in a scrap and we need to play a lot better, especially at home.
"I don't know what it is with them. For some reason, instead of playing forward they will go backwards. You have got to be brave."
Sheridan picked out on-loan Swindon Town midfielder Lee Cox as the only outfield player to come out of the game against Oxford with any credit.
He said: "I thought Coxy played well, especially in the second half. He tried to get us in the game, but as a team we were very flat."
AN ARGYLE XI are away to Witheridge in the quarter-finals of the Devon St Luke's Cup tonight (7.30pm).