Tooting given ultimatum

Surrey Comet: Crowded out: Tooting force the Three Bridges keeper into a rare bit of action on Saturday on their way to a disappointing defeat Crowded out: Tooting force the Three Bridges keeper into a rare bit of action on Saturday on their way to a disappointing defeat

Tooting & Mitcham’s interim manager Phil Simpson has told his players it is time to shape up or ship out.

The Terrors produced their worst performance of the season on Saturday as they lost 2-0 at home to Ryman Division One South basement boys Three Bridges.

The match only survived after a late pitch inspection but Simpson was not accepting excuses and told his players in no uncertain terms that there would be no repeat.

“As far as I am concerned that was unacceptable and I am expecting a big reaction,” he said ahead of Wednesday's game at Eastbourne Town and Saturday’s visit to Burgess Hill Town.

“We had a chat in the dressing room after, there was no shouting and it was very calm, the damage was done already.

“I told them it was unacceptable and it is not going to happen again. If they do do that again then it is down to me to make changes.”

Abubacarr Touray scored both Three Bridges goals to condemn Tooting to their 10th defeat at home this season.

“I don’t think it is pressure getting to them,” added Simpson of their home form.

“Any player that feels pressure to play a game of football even at this level should not be playing. Being a footballer it is a privilege to be paid doing something you are meant to love.

“I would run through a brick wall to walk across that line to play football whether it is in front of one person or 10,000 people, it makes no difference.

“Maybe they think about the history of the club.

“This a big non-league club so the expectations are high and were from the beginning of the season as they were expected to go straight back up.

“Maybe that is playing on the players a bit but there has been a big change in playing clientèle since the start of the season so it shouldn’t be.”

Defeat left Tooting nine points above the drop zone with nine games to go but Simpson is not talking about relegation.

“There are nine games left, which is 27 points and we are only nine points off,” he admitted.

“But I haven’t spoken about relegation or promotion, all we speak about is the next game and three points.”

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