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Wednesday 19 December 2018

Desmond: 'We have to forget last week'

CLASH: St Pats’ Lee Desmond in action (r) against Cork City’s Garry Buckley last Friday. Photo: Sportsfile
CLASH: St Pats’ Lee Desmond in action (r) against Cork City’s Garry Buckley last Friday. Photo: Sportsfile

St Patrick's Athletic man Lee Desmond admits that the hectic fixture list this season has caught up with the Saints.

A four-game winning run had revitalised the Inchicore club and given them a real chance of European qualification.

But two defeats in the space of a week, with six goals conceded, has seen them drop back to fifth in the table, and Desmond accepts that his team looked sluggish in Friday's 3-1 home loss to champions Cork City.

"I'm not trying to make excuses but the accumulation of games has caught up with us, we looked tired against Rovers and were sluggish against Cork," said the former Newcastle United man.

"A few players played out of position against Cork, including myself, but that's not an excuse.

"It's not like we are counting down the days to the mid-season break, but I think that will benefit everyone in the league, half the players in our team are carrying knocks so we need a rest.

"That's the end of the midweek games now, thankfully, I don't know why the league crams them in," added Desmond.

"The good thing from Friday was that the teams around us didn't go ahead of us, we try and take the positives from it.

"We have to try and forget this week, the confidence is still high after the run we had been on, but we have to get back what we're good at, we have Bray away now on Friday and we have to go there and win.

"The Cork game was probably a closer game than a 3-1 scoreline shows.

"We could have played better, we had a lot of possession but we started poorly, you can't start a game like that, giving away a penalty after 10 seconds.

"It was the same up in Tallaght last week, we didn't start well either.

"But that's two defeats in a row now and that's not good enough, we're away to Bray now on Friday and we have to bounce back, we need to win there to stay in the race for the top four."

Desmond has been an ever-present for the Saints this term but while he had been established in defence alongside Kevin Toner, he was moved into a midfield role for the Cork game.

"I prefer centre half, I am not the biggest fan of playing in midfield," he says.

"I was asked to do a job and I will do all I can for the team but I'd prefer to play at the back."

Bray, the Saints' opponents on Friday, are facing an injury crisis. Andrew McGovern is out for the season after suffering a broken leg in last week's loss to Dundalk while Hugh Douglas is also out long-term.

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