Gary Owers says Torquay United must be smarter defensively if they want to start picking up points this season.

Speaking after the Gulls fell to a 2-0 home defeat to Dover, Owers reflected on what was a disappointing afternoon at Plainmoor. “I wasn’t happy with the performance and I don’t just want to be someone that comes on and says every time we get beat we played poorly.

“If we continue to concede soft goals which we have done. Straight, bog standard clearance from the keeper, we can’t win the first header. It bounces twice and then a cross comes in that should be stopped and it’s a free header. It’s an uphill task from there.

“Second goal, we have a good attacking situation, 20 seconds later we’re 2-0 down. Then they [Dover] get set and drop deep, we’re taking chances, playing three at the back, three up front, but we’ve allowed them to come here and bully us and take the points.”

Dover, who have started the season well, made it a frustrating afternoon as United struggled to break down a resilient back four.

“They get tight. They’re probably the best in the league at doing it. They man mark in certain areas. They played with a sweeper in the first half and Rhys [Murphy] had a torrid time playing against a big physical centre-half and he didn’t get any protection. Other battles later in the game that we needed to win, we lost them as well.”

Owers says the club do not have time to waste and calls on his players to step up as United prepare to travel to Aldershot in the FA Cup.

“We’ve got the players a little bit fitter, in fact, a lot fitter. We’ve done some work with some of them. I think I’ve been here three or four weeks now, they’ve all had an opportunity. I have to do whatever I need to do to get the club out of this situation. I won’t wait for another four or five weeks for players to show me what they can do, I need it now. If I don’t get it, I have to change things.

“I’m concerned about the performance and the decision making when we were under pressure because we were chasing the game and made poor decisions. A lot of little things crept back in today. When you’re disciplined and you are 2-0 down and players start doing their own thing again, I’m not into all that. I see everything and I’ve told the players I’ll deal with it.

“The goals that we’re conceding are just soft goals. We’ve got to be tougher. We’ve got to play with a bit more devil and a lot more aggression and do it out there at three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon.”

Story by Ryan Darby