Steven Hammell: Time for Motherwell players to show they are up for the fight
Steven Hammell revealed some of his senior Motherwell players approached him to tell him they were up for the fight after their league campaign hit rock bottom – but the manager knows they need to show it at Pittodrie.
Motherwell are without a win in 10 league matches and sit 11th in the cinch Premiership, level on points with bottom club Dundee United, ahead of Saturday’s trip to Aberdeen.
Despite their long wait for a win, their season took a turn for the worse on Wednesday with their poorest performance of the league campaign as they fell to a 2-0 home defeat by St Johnstone without ever really threatening.
Hammell, who later added Irish defender Dan Casey to his squad, said: “We spoke pretty harshly after the game and rightly so.
“(On Thursday) we didn’t go into too much. It would have been a very, very, very long meeting if we went through everything we could have done better in that game.
“So we spoke and a few of the experienced ones came and spoke individually about how they’re still onside, they want us to do well and they believe in the work we are doing here. That’s fine them saying that and me saying that, but we need to go and show it.
“I believe I have the support of the players and the people above me at the club, but I also understand the results recently have not been good enough.
“The performance on Wednesday was the thing we were disappointed with the most, it’s something we’ve not seen this season.”
Motherwell looked deflated after conceding early in each half and the players have been told they need to be more resilient.
“If they don’t know where we are at and how much of a battle things are going to be between now and the end of the season, then they should know,” Hammell said.
“But it’s been highlighted. First and foremost we need to be more robust, we need to be difficult to play against, and stop shipping the cheap goals that we are.
“When that first goal went in we lost momentum early in a game which we had really high hopes for and were really well prepared for.
“I still believe there is a lot of trust out there but that becomes harder and harder with the performance we saw on Wednesday, it becomes harder and harder to get behind what we are trying to do here. That puts the emphasis more on the Aberdeen game.
“We will be in a much stronger position next week with a couple of new additions and people getting more up to speed in terms of the new players.
“There’s a couple we’ve looked at and were hoping to get done before the window, so it’s not that we’ve come out and panicked. Hopefully that’s something we can do.
“But first and foremost we need to be as ready as we can for Aberdeen.”
Hammell handed out four debuts against St Johnstone – Riku Danzaki and Jack Aitchison from the start, and James Furlong and Jonathan Obika off the bench.
“It was maybe too many too soon but that’s where we are at,” he said.
Former Bohemians and Cork defender Casey could be another debutant at Pittodrie after recent signing Shane Blaney suffered an injury against St Johnstone.
The 25-year-old was a free agent after leaving Sacramento Republic, who he helped reach the US Open Cup final by beating several MLS clubs.
“Dan has been someone we have been tracking for a while,” Hammell said. “He had a great season in America where MLS clubs were interested in securing his signature.
“We feel like we needed some cover in this area of the pitch with Shane picking up a knock in our most recent game.
“We don’t know exactly yet but he’s struggling which is a frustration because he’s a player we have built up. He has come and done well and been a starter for us.
“We’ve almost got a full starting XI in the gym and the physio room.”