'An inept performance' - Lee Johnson blasts Hibs after Motherwell loss but insists he still believes in players

A bewildered Lee Johnson admitted he didn’t see Hibs’ comprehensive defeat against Motherwell coming, as he lamented a ‘really frustrating’ afternoon at Easter Road.
Lee Johnson, serving a one-game touchline ban, watches on from the directors' box at Easter RoadLee Johnson, serving a one-game touchline ban, watches on from the directors' box at Easter Road
Lee Johnson, serving a one-game touchline ban, watches on from the directors' box at Easter Road

Goals from Sean Goss and Kevin van Veen had the visitors 2-0 up ten minutes into the second half and although Kevin Nisbet reduced the deficit shortly after the hour-mark, van Veen scored a second to restore the visitors’ two-goal advantage.

Johnson, serving a one-game touchline ban for accumulating four yellow cards over the season, was watching from the directors’ box but lambasted his players for a ‘tactically and technically inept’ showing.

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"I wasn't in the dressing room before the game because I'm not allowed to be but I suppose I have to hold my hands up and take responsibility for that,” he said afterwards. “We didn't start well at all; technically or physically. We didn't look like us, we didn't turn the opposition at all. Balls that went into centre-forwards were lost quickly and allowed Motherwell to build up a head of steam and it's a really, really frustrating one.”

Johnson was barred from the dressing room at the interval as well but made one half-time change, introducing Harry McKirdy for Jake Doyle-Hayes and insisted he ‘did all he could in terms of personnel and shape changes’ in an attempt to gain his side a foothold in the game.

"You've got to give Motherwell credit for their performance but I really did feel that there was an opportunity there – and it's a massive opportunity missed given the other results, even though we can't expect other results to look after us. We have to look after our own performances and build our performances.”

The Hibs boss bemoaned the lack of a shift in momentum after Nisbet’s headed goal from Chris Cadden’s cross on 62 minutes and admitted his side had been poor in both halves, adding: “There’s no excuses for our performance, or my performance. I’m really upset with it. What do you do? Throw it in the bin or over-analyse it?”

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Johnson was able to bring on Joe Newell in the second half but although he earned praise from Johnson – ‘I thought it was only Joe when he came on who looked like he had an ounce of technical ability, which was baffling’ – the manager had harsh words for most of his charges after a bad day at the office.

“Watching that today, I didn't see our identity. I was up there, with the fans, getting a bird's eye view and frustrated I couldn’t influence it from down below. But I just didn't see enough from us, as individuals or as a team. I don't want to put it on the players because I still believe in them but it makes it difficult to pick an XI for the next game. After performances like that you’re better off with less depth and making these boys go again.

"We’re strong enough to get results. No excuses, we have to be better in the next game. This is what happens, sometimes individuals have bad days. We had a lot of that today. But it doesn't mean I don't believe they’re a good team or good players.”