Bohemians need to be “ruthless in both boxes” if they are to start turning good performances into results.
Keith Long’s men have earned deserved plaudits for their style of play at times this season.
But mistakes at the back and a lack of cutting edge up front has cost them dearly.
That was the case last Friday when a clinical Cork City came away from Dalymount Park with a 2-0 victory.
The scoreline flattered the champions as Bohs were once again left frustrated at their inability to turn possession and chances into goals.
The quality on show in many of the Gypsies’ performances deserves to see them higher up the table.
But Long is having none of that – and has once again challenged his side to address their shortcomings.
He said: “Yes, the football we’ve been playing has at times been exciting and pleasing to watch.
“We were good enough on the night to get something out of that game. We created a lot in the first half and had most of the possession in the second.
“But we have to cut out those basic errors if we are to climb up the table. You need to keep clean sheets to give yourself the best chance of getting a result.
“It is a results business and it’s results that people will remember.
“You could say we were unlucky on occasion but that’s down to us not being ruthless enough in attack and at the back.
“The players fully understand that. There’s resolution in this team as to how we want to play.
“We are improving and evolving. I’m confident that we will turn performances into results.
“But we need to believe in ourselves more, be more clinical in front of goal and stronger at the back to give ourselves a chance.”
Long is among a number of managers who have voiced frustrations with the scheduling of fixtures this year.
The Gypsies have played 15 games in all competitions since the season kicked off on February 16.
And they face five in 15 days starting tomorrow evening against St Pat’s at Richmond Park.
With fixtures coming thick and fast, the durability of Long’s squad has been tested to the max.
This week, however, has provided a breather of sorts – it is only the fourth time this season that the team has had a full week to prepare for a game.
Long said: “We’ve had a week to prepare for this game and that will help bodies to recover. I expect our players to be fresher than they have been.
“As I’ve said before, the number of fixtures being front-loaded at the start of the season has affected teams’ ability to recover and preparations before games.
“It’s something that needs to be looked at next season.”
Against sixth-place St Pat’s, Bohs face a side just one place but five points ahead of them in the table.
Bohs are desperate to close that gap, but that won’t be easy.
Long added: “St Pat’s are a different proposition for teams than they were last season.
“They’re not conceding many and have been in every game. They’ve drawn with Dundalk and knocked them out of the EA Sports Cup.
“They’ve gone up to Derry and down to Cork and were very unlucky in both, losing by the odd goal. So they’re serious opponents for any team.
“They’ve already beaten us 1-0 this season in another game where we failed to take our chances.
“So it’s the same message again – we have to be ruthless in both boxes.
“But Richmond Park is usually a good surface to play on and it’s somewhere we tend to a bring a vocal travelling support. We’re really looking forward to it.”