Chris Beech says Byron Webster has been excellent since the head coach arrived at Carlisle United – and said it is “harsh” to single out the defender for stick.

Webster put in a solid performance to help the Blues to a clean sheet in last night’s 1-0 FA Cup replay win over Forest Green.

The experienced centre-half has come in for criticism over previous displays and errors.

But Beech said he will always back the 32-year-old as long as he keeps producing performances like last night’s.

He also said ex-Millwall man Webster, who went off injured late in the game, played through illness against Forest Green.

Beech said: “He’s under the weather but, in the three games I’ve been here, he’s been excellent.

“I know him from playing against him at Millwall. I know he’s had a strong career. His career’s not finished and you could see [last night], when he’s blocking, he’s giving everything, every inch of what he is.

“He has to keep doing that.

“He’s a big lad, he’s been a big target for negative and positive comment. As a family, we always have situations and problems, and even in our own families, with children, it’s always one who gets it or one gets away with it.

“[At the moment] it’s Byron. I’ve got to support him but providing I get a service, and it represents us moving forwards. That’s creating team spirit.”

Webster’s role in Morecambe’s equaliser in Saturday’s 1-1 draw had been highlighted but Beech again said it was a collective matter.

“I want us to be a team and a family,” he said. “It’s harsh to pick on one player in terms of ‘it’s your fault’.

“It’s not - it’s our fault, goals we concede. Ultimately it ends up in the last place before it goes in goal, but there’s many moments before it gets there.

“I want us to get better at stopping that before it becomes that. And that will look after us in the long term.”

Beech said Webster had played his part in a determined defensive effort against Forest Green where “everybody backed each other up”.

He added: “Canice [Carroll] was blocking that hard, he tackled Byron, who hits the floor that hard that he’s a little bit concussed or dazed.”

The United boss also showered Jarrad Branthwaite with praise after the highly-rated teenager returned to centre-half, following a midfield role against Morecambe.

The 17-year-old took his latest man-of-the-match award after helping keep Mark Cooper’s side at bay.

Beech maintained the Wigton youngster still has the ability to play further forward, the way certain high-profile Premier League players have.

He said: “Branthwaite was brilliant. He obviously enjoyed playing in his natural position in terms of how he’s developed.

“I had massive information on the way he played for Carlisle in the FA Youth Cup at Fleetwood [last season]. I’m a Fleetwood man, and he was excellent as a midfield player, and has the skill sets to play both roles.

“I look at people like Declan Rice, and Michael Carrick, who’ve played a little bit of both. Jarrad has the capabilities of doing both, that’s why I tried him at Morecambe, because I enjoyed Michael Jones playing further forward with Scougs [Stefan Scougall], but [last night] I used Jonah as a deeper midfield player, and Jarrad slotted into his defensive role.

“But he played left side. So he’s played left side, right side, in a three under the previous management, and as a No4 at Morecambe. He is an excellent football player.”