Graham Coughlan | “It was a very bad day at the office…”

Manager Graham Coughlan says Newport County were way below the level expected after falling to a 3-0 defeat against MK Dons on Saturday afternoon.

Three first-half goals from Dan Kemp, Jack Payne and Alex Gibley secured the points for the home side which saw them close in on the automatic play-off places.

“They were better with the ball today and we were sloppy” began Coughlan. 

“We just didn’t come out of the traps and it was chalk and cheese of Walsall. Two weeks ago we were off to a flyer but today we gave ourselves a mountain to climb. Some of the performances just weren’t good enough today. I can’t have too many days like today it was painful. 

“We were inconsistent. When we had the ball we gave it away. We were wasteful and when you give good teams the ball straight back they will punish you. 

“We didn’t have any forward penetration with our passes – we kept going back to the three centre-halves and then the goalie. We gained no territory or decent possession, we didn’t work their goalie, so all in all it was a really bad day at the office.

“It was really, really painful watching the game. I don’t know how the fans felt but I’m guessing they were going through the same pain that I and the players were feeling." 

“I understand [that it was a rare bad performance], but it doesn’t make me feel any better," added Coughlan. "It was very painful watching the game and it’s no consolation that we have been good and were bad today.

“You want consistency and regular performances, while the minimum that we ask for is that we outwork and outrun the opposition.

“Yes, they might be better with the ball than us but we can’t let them outrun and out-fight us. That’s a no-no.”

The Exiles return to action in quick succession on Tuesday night with a trip to play-off chasers Harrogate. 

And Coughlan is hoping his side can return to winning ways in another tough test in midweek.

“We have to get back to it [Tuesday],” concluded the Exiles boss. 

“There will be no sulking, whingeing or moaning. We will accept the defeat manfully and gracefully. The better team won and we will regroup.

“We will look at Harrogate and delve into this game, although I don’t even think I’ll watch the video because that was painful.

“One thing we know about this group is that they always react and bounce back. We are lucky that we have a game on Tuesday.”