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Boss vows to raise the Barr

Barry Gray says collective responsibility must be taken for a disappointing start to the season that has seen Cliftonville pocket just four points from their opening five Danske Bank Premiership outings.

The Reds slipped to their third defeat of the campaign when Ballymena United chalked up a 1-0 victory at The Showgrounds yesterday, with the Manager reflecting: “It was miles from what I expect.

“It’s easy for me to come out and keep pointing fingers back at the players. I can’t take responsibility for the performance levels because I don’t directly dictate them, but I’ll take responsibility for where we are at the minute and what we have to do going forward.

“I told the players that I’ll stand by them, we’ll keep working at it. There is no shirking away from responsibilities and we – myself included – didn’t bring enough to the table to beat Ballymena. We gifted them one chance and they took it.”

On the campaign so far, Gray adds: “On the Saturday, we don’t look like the same team I train on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the difference is that I control everything on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We can set up things and do things that I can dictate and control but on Saturdays I can’t control when they walk out over that line. That’s where the gaps are at the minute.

“It’s hard to take because we don’t like losing games but that’s the task at hand. No doubt it’s not pretty to watch, it’s not pretty to look at from afar and I’m sure supporters and everybody else associated with the Club don’t like to see it.

“Bottom line is, it’s my responsibility to make it better and make sure we don’t get any more days like this. We’re already five games in, there has been very little to celebrate or be upbeat about. That’s football and that’s the way it goes, I’m not shrugging responsibility or pointing fingers onto anyone else because it’s my job to make sure it gets better and it will – I’ve no doubt about that.”