Walsall must take more responsibility says Dean Keates
Walsall boss Dean Keates has ordered his players to take more responsibility when defending set-pieces.
The Saddlers have slipped to back-to-back defeats in League One with a 2-0 loss at Luton followed by a 3-0 reverse at Southend.
In each of those matches, Walsall conceded two goals from set-pieces.
That was particularly frustrating against the Shrimpers with Keates’ team the better side for 70 minutes.
And the boss has told his players they need to be more accountable when defending set-plays.
“To concede four goals from set-pieces in two games is very frustrating,” Keates said.
“They are a massive part of the game now. You look at all the data that came out after the World Cup, a lot of goals are now scored from set-plays.
“We work on them but we’ve not scored from one in the league.
“We have had numerous occasions when it’s gone across the six-yard box and gone out the other side.
“But on the other side, you have to show pride.
“We give the lads accountability. You watch teams, you see how they operate, what they are doing. Yes, things can change overnight, but you are not far off guessing who is going to be the main threat in the air.
“You give someone a man and that is your man. I always say to them, if your man doesn’t score, you have done your job.”
Walsall’s loss at Southend ensured they fell to back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.
But after watching his team miss a number of good chances in Essex, Keates admitted things aren’t falling for his side at the minute.
“They are the fine margins of football,” he continued. “You don’t want to go on about it, it’s all clichés. But something just isn’t catching for us at the moment.
“We played good football at Southend during the first half.
“We went away from home, spent a lot of time with the ball and looked the more threatening team.
“But we didn’t put them to the sword and we were caught out.”