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O'Donnell won't use lack of crowd as excuse

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3 August 2020; St Patrick's Athletic head coach Stephen O'Donnell prior to the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between St Patrick's Athletic and Derry City at Richmond Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

3 August 2020; St Patrick's Athletic head coach Stephen O'Donnell prior to the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between St Patrick's Athletic and Derry City at Richmond Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

3 August 2020; St Patrick's Athletic head coach Stephen O'Donnell prior to the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between St Patrick's Athletic and Derry City at Richmond Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Stephen O'Donnell admits that the lack of a home crowd is no excuse for a sub-par display at home to Derry City and stresses that his side need to stop giving rivals an advantage by making mistakes.

From the high of a 1-1 draw away to champions Dundalk last week, Pat's slumped with a poor show in a 2-0 loss at home to Derry on Monday night, the concession of points a blow to their ambitions of qualifying for Europe this season.

There's a busy schedule ahead for the Inchicore club, a home game against Finn Harps on Monday followed by an FAI Cup tie away to the Donegal side next Monday and then Dublin derbies against Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians.

A Friday-Monday-Friday schedule is a test of stamina but O'Donnell would not accept tiredness or the disadvantage of playing at home in an empty stadium as factors, Pat's the latest side to suffer a curse at home: of the 11 games played across both divisions following lockdown, only once (Shamrock Rovers v Finn Harps) did the home side win.

"You have to create your own intensity and atmosphere and we didn't do that on Monday night," says O'Donnell when asked about his side being the latest to suffer from the curse of playing at home in an empty stadium.

"On the whole it was flat, flat from us, we started the game decent in the first five or ten minutes but as it went on there were a lot of mental errors. Maybe there was a bit of fatigue but that's a bit too black and white to say, it was just flat on our behalf, a lot of inexcusable mistakes.

Fundamental

"I don't like making that [fatigue] as an excuse, there were still some fundamental things that we shouldn't have been doing, fatigue doesn't come into it," he added.

The second goal, in particular, a definite cause for concern as sloppy play in their own box by Pat's gifted possession, and the goal, to Conor McCormack.

"Ultimately it summed up the way the game was going for us, the second goal we gave away, you can't give away soft goals like that, the first goal was soft as well so we have to look at that and try to improve," added the Saints boss.

"You can't give teams in this league something to hang on to, they shut up shop as Derry did and are difficult to break down, we need to start learning that we can't give teams a leg-up, it's something we have to eradicate sooner rather than later."