Knights bracing for another torrid week - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Knights bracing for another torrid week

By Adam Cooper 18/07/2010 02:22:12 PM Comments (0)

Essendon coach Matthew Knights is bracing for another torrid week but won't budge from his belief he's the man to get the Bombers out of their hole.

Knights said he expected more criticism to flow following his side's latest lamentable AFL showing, Saturday night's 32-point defeat to bottom side West Coast at Etihad Stadium.

The defeat was Essendon's sixth in succession and third-straight to a side outside the eight, following shockers against Adelaide and Melbourne.

The 12 goals kicked by West Coast's Mark LeCras made the match one to remember, but it is likely the Dons will want to move on given their skill errors, missed tackles and inability to win the hard ball.

The defeat will ramp up the pressure on Knights given the dissatisfaction of Essendon supporters, but the coach said he was ready for a repeat of last week's scrutiny.

"You should expect that if you're head coach and you're guiding the ship," he said.

"I fully accept the criticism that will come my way, both last week and this week, about our football ... I will take everything on the chin about our football as I should."

Knights said Essendon were in "as big a hole as we've been in" following the 20.12 (132) to 14.16 (100) defeat to West Coast, and said the Bombers had to focus on regaining respect.

He admitted he needed to be resilient to absorb the pending criticism, but still had faith in his coaching ability and the support of his players.

"It never feels like a lost cause," he said.

"It's a challenging environment. We're going through a really challenging period of what we're endeavouring to put in place for the future.

"... I've got to make sure I keep working with the players and they have an understanding I'll keep doing that because that's what I'm about.

"I'm here for players and here for my boys.

"We've got to keep working harder and being aggressive in the way we go about it."

Knights is contracted until the end of 2012 but last week Essendon chairman David Evans failed to guarantee the coach would see out his contract.

Knights said it would be a "cop-out" for his players to use last week's scrutiny as a distraction for their efforts against West Coast.

He was reluctant to consider selection changes for next Saturday night's game against North Melbourne until he reviewed the game.

West Coast coach John Worsfold offered his counterpart some sympathy despite his own concerns, as the Eagles remain in last place.

"We're all in the industry to win but you go through periods where you've got to guts it out," Worsfold said.

Essendon captain Jobe Watson said the players should carry the brunt of the blame for the team's shocking form, not Knights.

"People look at the coach, and I don't think that's fair," he told reporters.

"You'll ask any player from any club that's been under scrutiny and they'll say that the players have to wear a lot more of the responsibility than they do, and that's certainly the case."

He said there was no lack of unity or motivation, insisting players were "playing for the coach" and "playing for the jumper" but just not well enough.

"At this stage, we're not good enough," Watson said.

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