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'There's been negativity. You hear a vocal minority, not the silent majority'

Bohemians boss Keith Long ready to drag his side up the table as they aim to get over an early-season slump.

Bohs manager Keith Long.
Bohs manager Keith Long.
Image: Evan Treacy/INPHO

BOHEMIANS HAVE SQUANDERED five points by conceding goals after the 88th minute in three games so far this month.

And boss Keith Long believes they are better off losing than drawing if it means they can pick up some extra wins along the way too.

The long-standing Bohs manager has felt the ire of a section of supporters in recent weeks, having conceded a 93rd-minute equaliser at home to Finn Harps on Good Friday just a week after Drogheda United earned a point with two minutes to go.

April also began with Derry snatching victory at Dalymount Park in the third minute of injury time, but there were no such concerns in yesterday’s north Dublin derby at Tolka Park as Bohs cruised to a 4-1 win over Shelbourne.

With the points left behind in those other games in the month the Phibsborough club would have found themselves in third spot, just three points off bitter rivals Shamrock Rovers heading into this Friday’s clash with the champions.

“There has been a bit of negativity around the place, there is no doubt about that and it was good to get the goals we did,” Long said.

What are we, 11 games into the season now? We’ve drawn too many games, and from winning margins too. We’ve been ahead a lot. That’s extremely frustrating, none more so than the team, the backroom staff working so hard to put things right.

“I’m stating the obvious but you go on a winning run you climb the table very quickly. Draws don’t help you do that, we’re better off losing a couple and winning a couple than drawing the ones we have.

“You only hear the vocal minority, you don’t hear the silent majority. The supporters have always been supportive of me as manager and we’ve got to change the narrative ourselves. We’ve gone some way to that.”

Rovers come to Dalymount on Friday but Long’s focus is sharpened by the simple need to climb the table rather than a need for bragging rights.

“Irrespective of who we’re playing, it’s the derby against Rovers. You want to try follow it up with another win. Our primary objective this year is very, very simple.

“It’s to try and perform at a high level on a consistent basis every week and performances recently have certainly improved. We started the season reasonably OK with two draws and a win, then we went to Rovers and we lost, and maybe we lost our way somewhat.

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kris-twardek-scores-a-goal Kris Twardek works the space cleverly for Bohs' third goal yesterday. Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

“The performances over the last four or five games haven’t been a real issue for us. It’s been managing the game, conceding late goals and not seeing games out.

“Had we done that in two or three of those games we’d be bang up there. It’s a funny league at the moment. Most managers, I would imagine, would be disappointed with their points return at this moment in time.”

Last season’s beaten FAI Cup finalists also enjoyed an impressive run in European action, but with no Europa Conference League action to look forward to this year, Long is hoping his current crop can make a return for 2023.

“Of course expectations rise at a club like Bohs and it’s really good that we’re in that situation where we’re better financially, we’re able to offer longer term contracts, we’re able to entice a better standard of player to the club, but it’s all relative,” he added.

It’s not that we’ve exponentially grown our budget, every club has. It’s a case of managing the expectations but ultimately we’ve got to manage the performances of the players on the pitch.

“This win was great for us, can we repeat it now on Friday and put in a top level performance against the champions, who are going well. Let’s see what happens and try and follow up this with a good performance and whatever the result, we can stand over it a little bit if the performance is right.”

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