Di Paola praises effort but saw a lack of quality

L45107H13-FootballEastPreston''Sussex Division Football. East Preston V St Francis. Action from the match.   Pictured is East Preston manager, Dom Di Paola. ENGSUS00220130411084326
L45107H13-FootballEastPreston''Sussex Division Football. East Preston V St Francis. Action from the match. Pictured is East Preston manager, Dom Di Paola. ENGSUS00220130411084326
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New manager Dominic Di Paola praised his players’ efforts despite defeat confirming their relegation from the Ryman League on Saturday.

The new bosses’ first game in charge of the Hornets ended in a 2-0 defeat away at second-place Faversham which condemned them to finishing in the bottom three.

Di Paola said it was a strange situation to reflect on a relegation just four days into the role, but admitted - despite their effort - his new side lacked quality to compete with their promotion-chasing host.

“It’s hard to be critical, really,” he said. “They gave their all, but the squad does just not have the quality that’s needed at times in this league.

“Normally, you are in the position you are in for a reason, although on another day on a better pitch, we could have caused some problems going forwards.

“It is hard to be critical of the lads as they gave everything we asked of them. Four of five of them we just met before kick-off and they gave their all for the club.

It is hard to be critical of the lads as they gave everything we asked of them. Four of five of them we just met before kick-off and they gave their all for the club.

Dominic Di Paola

“They (Faversham) are a big side and a lot of teams in Kent are very physical, Horsham do not really have that physicality. I am not talking about Stoke’s 6ft 8” giants, but you look around our team and it’s 5ft 10”.”

Having put a first relegation on his CV, Di Paola added: “I have never finished below sixth before so it’s a new one for me, although it was the inevitable really.

“I thought the lads’ attitudes were really good. The first 15 minutes we looked nervous and there was a really strong wind so we couldn’t get out.

“After that we started to calm down and it was a relatively even game.

“It was a shame that as the half went on the wind died down and wasn’t there for us for the second half.

“I thought if it was and we could get in at 0-0, we would have a real chance to get at them. We dominate possession in the second half without doing much with it.

“In the last 15 minutes we changed shape and went really attacking as we knew a point wouldn’t do anything and they then ran us a bit ragged.”

Read the new manager’s thoughts on relegation and a possible reprieve in Thursday’s paper.