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Lennie Slams Mariners

By: Stephen Bateman
Date: 17/01/2001

After a "lamentable" performance against second division Wycombe last night, Lennie Lawrence launched a stinging attack on his players, saying in one breath "I accept responsibility," only to later slam his charges, saying that they either "can't or won't learn."

After an indescribably awful performance throughout their 3-1 home defeat at Blundell Park last night, the Mariners boss is plainly starting to feel the pressure and was quick to absolve his tactical decisions of any blame, as he angrily told reporters:

"The formation has got absolutely bugger all to do with anything. It's all down to the personnel on the night and what goes on in the two penalty areas."

Grudgingly, Lawrence added: "I have to take responsibility, which I'm not happy to do, but I must."

For the second time in two home games, Grimsby were outclassed by opponents that they were fully expected to beat. Once again, it was in defence that the embarrassment was caused, as Wycombe dominated every aerial contest.

"From a defensive point of view it was absolutely lamentable," said a clearly deflated Lawrence. "Every time the ball went in the air into our penalty area, we felt as if Wycombe were going to score.

"They know what they're supposed to do - they either can't do it, or didn't do it. Our defenders are spending far too much time standing and watching, and not enough time anticipating."

In spite of laying the blame for the defeat firmly at the door of his defenders, Lawrence felt that he was unable to criticise Mike Jeffrey, who turned in what was undoubtedly his best performance since joining the Mariners, or fellow striker Steve Livingstone:

"It's hard to recall a worse performance. I can't lay the blame at the attackers door tonight, because they chased the game throughout."

The disgruntled Londoner then went on to make it clear that until his players improve their performances he will rule with an iron rod, as he fumed:

"We looked at video's of Wycombe's ability to score goals from corners. It didn't do any good though, did it? They either can't or won't learn.

"We start again tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. There's no day off, there will be no days off until the performances improve."


Later, the Mariners boss tore into his foreign signings, implying that they are nothing more than mercenaries. It would seem, however, that Lawrence himself was clearly unaware of the problems that may be caused by bringing in an army of immigrants whose demands are obviously far beyond the financial capacity of a club such as Grimsby.

"We are Grimsby and people know that before they come. We cannot pay the ridiculous sums of money that they're asking for," he told a post-match press conference.

"The foreign players have fallen to bits in the last two weeks for the simple reason that they realise they are not going to get the preposterous sums their agents are asking for.

"We're receiving ludicrous faxes from Menno's agent and you can see the result. David, by his own admission, has not been himself for the same reason."

With eleven players out of contract at the end of the season, Lawrence then sensationally challenged his players to prove that they deserve to be at Blundell Park as he announced:

"All contract negotiations that I've entered into with players are now suspended. I'm close to a deal with Kevin Donovan, so, as I started it, I'll finish it if I can.

The Mariners boss then ended the conference by delivering a stern ultimatum to his foreign legion:

"My message to those players is: Come out from behind your agents. Make your minds up whether you want to be here or not - In David's case, decide whether it's too late or not."

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