Scunthorpe United: We didn't do enough to win at Hartlepool, says Alan Knill
Struggling to score; struggling to keep clean-sheets – Scunthorpe United boss Alan Knill admits it is a dangerous combination.
But, despite suffering a fourth consecutive defeat of the League One season, the Iron manager remains convinced his team can turn their form around.
United were beaten 2-0 at Hartlepool United as Jonathan Franks and Luke James struck for the hosts in a game which saw Scunthorpe reduced to 10 men following Josh Walker's dismissal for handball.
Knill was honest in his assessment of another frustrating performance, highlighting a poor opening 45 minutes where the visitors largely failed to threaten.
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"Obviously we're disappointed," he said.
"I was more disappointed with the first half. We're trying to win games and it looked as though we were happy to keep the ball at the back and not go forward, and not have any energy and enthusiasm.
"We were better in the second half and had more chances, but you've got to do more than that to win football matches. At the moment we're not doing enough.
"As a team and as a squad we all understand that's not good enough.
"We didn't play great but we still had enough chances to win the game.
"We can't keep it out of our goal and we can't put it in theirs. If you've got that combination you're only heading one way, so we have to quickly find a solution to that.
"We just didn't show enough commitment in the first half.
"We were sloppy straight away from the start.
"I want us to pass it, but I don't want us to have 20 passes across the back. We have to go forward.
"At the moment we're not doing that, but it takes a lot of courage and a lot of movement and bright players to do it.
"On Saturday, especially in the first half, we had none of that.
"Even second half, we were in some good situations, but just didn't take advantage of it.
"In the end, we lose by two goals.
"I don't think Sam (Slocombe) has had too much to do apart from that, and yet their goalkeeper makes several great saves again.
"I thought we'd win this game comfortably, but we haven't done enough to win the game, simple as that."
The league debut of midfielder David Prutton was one of the few bright spots at Victoria Park as the experienced campaigner showed his class with some neat passing, while helping to provide the back line with some much needed cover.
And though Knill's squad continues to be stretched – particularly with the loss of Walker for a one-game ban – the manager says his players can learn a lot from the Sheffield Wednesday loanee.
"Having Paul Reid, Damien Mozika and Michael Collins out injured makes the squad weaker, but I still expect us to be better than we were on Saturday," said Knill.
"Enthusiasm and energy and desire covers a load of sins, and we didn't have that in the first half.
"It's my responsibility to get that out the players; now we have to try to find that solution for the forthcoming games.
"I honestly believe we'll be okay. We've seen the influence of Prutton, he's a good player.
"He's enthusiastic , he wants to play and that says a lot. He could have stayed at Sheffield Wednesday but he wanted to come here because he wants to play.
"He wants to show everybody that he's a good player.
"If we'd had 11 like that on Saturday then we would have won the game, but we didn't – that's the worrying thing.
"We did pretty well against Norwich on Tuesday and pretty well against Derby (both in the Capital One Cup), but the league games – I'll take out Crewe because we played really well against them – but the three others, the performances haven't been good enough.
"Until we sort the league form out – because that's the most important thing – it's going to be quite difficult.
"But I'm hopeful we'll do that."