In Full: Stephen O’Donnell’s programme notes for the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division clash with Waterford FC.

We were all disappointed with the result against St Patrick’s Athletic last Friday night. Again, we found ourselves in a nothing sort of situation that culminated in a goal. It was just a hook by their midfielder and they found themselves in on goal and ultimately that’s just been happening too often, which is very frustrating.

I thought we started the game well and even though we went 1-0 down, we finished the first half on top but it took us a bit of time to get into our stride in the second half. I thought we dominated the last 25 minutes but we just needed to be cleaner playing up through them. 

I thought we had enough good chances in the second half. Robbie Benson missed a guilt-edged header from six or seven yards out and Jamie Gullan basically found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper from a brilliant disguised ball by Robbie but he was stopped by a great last-ditch tackle. We also had a couple of efforts where the Pat’s keeper was rooted to the line in the second half and, away from home, I don’t know if you’re going to create many more chances than that.

From that standpoint, we need to be cleaner with our possession to really go and carve teams open but we just can’t keep giving rubbish away and that’s precisely what we’re giving away all the time – rubbish goals.

We haven’t got into the flow of a game where other teams are potentially committing and it becomes more of an open game. We’ve given teams something to hold onto all of the time. It’s very hard to open teams up at will when you’re giving them something and they can sit off.

It was a similar pattern in our two previous games at Oriel this season. Before we were even settled into the game, we were 1-0 down. I think we showed a bit more of what we are capable of in the two away games that we have played so far but, again, you’re always going to be struggling a bit if you’re giving up the goals we are.

Teams aren’t playing up through us. It’s literally, as I said, a second ball in midfield, a blind hook and then on the next touch it’s a goal – and that’s not acceptable.

It’s on the coaching staff and it’s definitely on me to get the fundamentals and the basics ironed down so that we don’t give up goals like we’ve done in our last three games.

I’ll never shrug responsibility for any of the goals that we give up or any result we get. Every result is on us, and on me as head coach, and I accept that responsibility but I can see a way out of this bad run.

I don’t think there’s a question about our attitude. Again, it’s a confidence thing. If you go a goal behind after a couple of defeats…players aren’t robots, so it all adds in.

I think there’s good potential in the group. I have good belief and I think there are good players here but we’ve taken a bit of a hit at the minute, results-wise,and that’s obviously going to affect confidence and a bit of a flow.

If you lose games, you know there’s going to be a reaction from supporters and I understand that. We know it’s up to us to get the fans back onside. Good results get fans enthusiastic and get fans engaged and until we start producing results we can’t have any complaints.

I can totally understand the criticism of the last week but, ultimately, the only things that can get supporters engaged are victories and results and that’s ultimately my remit and we’ll be leaving no stone unturned to achieve that. 

Results keep fans happy and when you’ve poor results fans aren’t happy. It’s that black and white and I totally understand that. That’s the game and that’s the industry that we’re in.

Tonight we play host to newly-promoted Waterford but I don’t think you’re expected to beat any team in this league this season. I don’t think the landscape is like that.

I think you’ve a couple of teams at the top and then everyone else can beat each other – and rightly feel that they can beat each other. Obviously, we’ve lost our last three but I’m still not drifting massively away from the good performance we had on the opening night against Shamrock Rovers.

We know we need a win tonight before we go into the international break. We’ve trained accordingly and we’re looking to get that win this evening.

Enjoy the game, Stephen O’Donnell