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Stephen Robinson calls for simplicity as Motherwell target first league win

Motherwell v Glentoran – UEFA Europa League – First Qualifying Round – Fir Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Stephen Robinson has stressed the simple things in football life to his Motherwell players who seek their first Scottish Premiership win of the season.

The Steelmen are bottom of the table with two points from six games following draws against Livingston and Hibernian.

Ahead of the visit of St Johnstone on Saturday, the Northern Irishman revealed he has returned to the basics.

“In terms of results we haven’t had the start (we wanted) and we can’t hide away from that,” said  boss Robinson, who confirmed midfielder Liam Donnelly is set to miss the rest of the year following a knee operation.

“There’s been positives without end product.

“So what we’ve worked on for the last two weeks is trying to get that end product, a little bit of simplicity really, more numbers into the box, more crosses into the box and that steely determination not to concede goals.

“At the end of the day, both six-yard boxes win you football matches and what you do inside those dictates whether you win or lose. Everything else around it is just pretty pictures and patterns.

“So we’ve concentrated very much on that and just a little bit more steeliness and know how into winning football matches.”

Robinson believes his players have erred on the side of trying to play perfect football.

He said: “Winning breeds confidence, it’s quite basic, we win games there’s a lot more confidence.

“I think we’ve played a lot of good football, we’re not going to go away from playing good football but there has to be a combination.

“When I first come to the club, we were up here in terms of physicality and how we played, it was a little bit more direct and we balanced that until we got it very good where we finished third and got into Europe.

“It has maybe gone a little bit the other way where it has to be too perfect at times.

“So we have to learn to win games are ugly. And whatever way you win games confidence breeds and we’ve got players in the group that will control football matches will play good football but we have to make sure we compete on the other side of it as well.”

Donnelly, 24, who sustained the injury in training, has not played since the opening day of the season defeat at Ross County on August 3 and it was originally thought he would be out for a couple of months.

Robinson said: “Liam has had the operation, he was down seeing the specialist yesterday.

“It was a little bit worse than we feared so we are looking probably into the new year before we see Liam back. So it has been a big blow to us.

“Liam will be a big miss to us but Mark O’Hara is playing in that position for us at the moment and doing well.”