David Holdsworth has responded to criticism over his part in Carlisle United’s predicament by saying he does not pick the players and always gives managers full support.

The director of football, meanwhile, pointedly referred to bosses who suddenly change their approach and deviate from what they had promised.

Holdsworth insisted he was not referring to Chris Beech with the latter comment, though it came when he was questioned by the News & Star about United’s recent failings which led to the sacking of head coach Beech.

“Sadly, if people change the way they pick their players I can’t do nothing about it,” he said. “Does it frustrate me? One billion per cent.”

Holdsworth has faced criticism from some supporters given United’s slump to third bottom in League Two, with some suggesting he should carry the can along with Beech.

When this was put to Holdsworth by the News & Star, he said: “When you’re supporting a guy that was top of the league last year and everybody was happy, [and ask] where does it go wrong? Unfortunately it goes wrong on the training ground.

“You can support staff, and Chris would tell you he’s had every support. As a sounding board, I’ve played quite a lot of games in my life and worked under a certain amount of managers, and you try to support them.

“The credit went to Chris [when we were top of the league] and nobody was moaning about the job I was doing then.

“When you’ve made the club rather a lot of money and done the job I actually do, then fans might not know that.

“I think you give the manager the support and belief. That’s all you can do.

“When things are going wrong, the first person he doesn’t want to hear from is me telling him how bad he’s done it on a Saturday night. You do have constructive words after the day, because it’s not nice having that conversation when you’ve got the director of football screaming at you down the road, why did you do this or that.

“If there are things we could support Chris with, we’ve supported him.”

Holdsworth referred to his belief that League Two rewarded a side who could handle itself “physically” but said his own views could not influence what a manager wanted in terms of players.

And he did say Beech wanted to “change” United’s approach this season.

“I have an idea on League Two. I’ve been here long enough to know…when we were at the top of the league, the type of football we played and strengths of characters we had,” he said.

“Chris wanted to change it this year.

“Are they my players? Certainly not. Ultimately we support the manager whoever that may be. He’s been given the opportunity. Managers live and die by that, not just Chris but everybody.

“League Two’s unforgiving. It’s very physical. When players aren't delivering that physicality, perhaps, it has a conclusive nature to losses.

“We’ve seen how successful Sutton have been. They’re not playing the best football in the world but they’re a very demanding team and must be celebrating right now, because they’re in the higher echelons in the league.

“There’s a physicality part that perhaps some of our players might learn about because they’re young and might improve on given time.

“I have an idea but it doesn’t matter what my idea is, it’s about the manager that comes in being able to implement that. Last year we were very successful playing a certain brand of football and that’s the way forward.”

We asked Holdsworth, in light of those comments, if it was not the job of a director of football and surrounding structure to ensure all concerned – manager included – were on the same page.

“I have to choose my words here quite carefully,” he said. “Without naming names here…when someone paints a picture to you [in interviews] and delivers that picture and it’s a profile of what you think – ‘yeah, happy days, this guy knows what League Two’ is about – and then doesn’t deliver that, and you make changes but still believe he’s the right person, it’s very difficult to change those people, because the manager will say, ‘David’s changing the team, David’s doing this…’

“I do nothing like that. I support the manager financially, and they’re not my teams. But when a manager changes that, and I can’t go into a name, that’s happened to be the case.

“The method changed overnight. I’m sitting there in disbelief and so are the board. You try to give that imprint but when a manager says, ‘This is the [player] I want’, and if he turns round in the press and say, ‘David’s changed it, David’s done this’…it’s not the case.

“We support each manager that’s been through here and you hope they pick the right players. They tell you they’re gonna give the method to get out of this league.

“I’ve heard it before, many times, and I’ll hear it again in the next few weeks. Sadly if people change the way they pick their players I can’t do nothing about it. Does it frustrate me? One billion per cent.”

Asked if Holdsworth was implying that what Beech promised in interview did not bear out in reality, he replied: “I’m not talking about Chris Beech. I’m talking about a hypothetical situation that can happen.”

We then asked, in light of his remarks, if his and United’s due diligence over hiring managers needs to be better in order to ensure all parties are on the same page, Holdsworth said: “If you open my phone I’ll give you a page of dribble that one person gave me, and if we’d employed him we’d be relegated.

“I can only tell you the facts. When someone tells you they’re going to play a certain way, and say this is League Two football, and when you do your hiring, and it takes you the whole summer to find a player…it can get frustrating.”

We then asked Holdsworth if, given the director of football structure at Brunton Park, a managerial appointment should in fact be a seamless process, because a club’s principles and style of play should already be firmly in place.

He said: “Let’s mention Chris. Chris is a good guy and won’t mind me saying this. When Chris Beech came to Carlisle United, he was able to implement his full team, and get the players he wanted, we got some very good loan signings in.

“And I don’t think anybody in Carlisle United didn’t want Chris Beech to have a new deal, which you guys [in the media] would have supported I’m sure, and he was given that based on the fact that we were winning football matches.

“When that was going wrong, was that my fault? I don’t pick the team. We gave Chris the opportunity to bring in five players at Christmas when we were top of the league. How many clubs do that? Successful ones. It didn’t go right and we finished outside the play-offs.

“You can implement the style, I’ve just told you the style, I believe I know what we need but they’re not going to be my players. Going back to your suggestion does a director of football pick the players, no…”

We pointed out here that we had not alleged Holdsworth picked the players, but the question concerned the need for a manager and DoF to be on the same page recruitment-wise.

“I’ve just answered your question about someone telling you one thing and doing another,” he said. “And I can’t change those players overnight. Every manager wants their own players. Does Carlisle United support that, does the director of football support that? One hundred per cent.”

Holdsworth was then asked how he and United could better guard against appointing a manager who could change their mind in the way he had claimed.

“Let’s think about Big Sam [Allardyce],” he said. “He plays a certain brand of football, but it’s a brand he believes is successful in a certain way; when he’s firefighting at a club and saves them, it’s the right brand.

“When you’re hiring a young manager, who thinks, ‘I can bring in a certain type of player that can make us better’, the question might be raised: ‘Is it conducive to League Two football?’

“But a manager will always say, ‘David, I believe I can get the best out of that player’.

“If a manager changes his tune and says, ‘I’m going to start playing out from the back’, and playing tippy-tappy football, the first people who are going to moan at him are the people in the Paddock. It’s not the brand of football that’s conducive for League Two.

“Big Sam’s known for firefighting and doing miracles, and he gets branded for that. When you’re bringing an opportunity to a manager to say, ‘Ok, you’ve done really well last year, and we’re gonna support you more financially and constructively, and give you the brand of people you like’, we have to believe that man was the right man for the job.

“If it doesn’t work out, it’s going to end in one conclusion.”

Holdsworth said the decision to dispense with Beech was the board’s decision, saying directors had become more outspoken as United’s poor form had continued in recent weeks.

Asked why the head coach had gone, he said: “Results. Simple, really.

“Chris Beech is a really good guy. It’s not a phonecall I wanted to make at the weekend. Chris worked really, really hard in this job. But it hasn’t gone as well as Chris would have liked, and the board and supporters [would have liked].

“We find ourselves here and it’s unfortunate. I must say Chris is a really good guy and I think he will have learned a great deal, being his first appointment as a manager, but he’s gained a lot of kudos and unfortunately when results go well you do have to consider that, and on the flipside we had to make the change.”

Holdsworth said Beech will have “learned about players” from his time in charge at United.

He added: “He’ll learn about trust. I’ve been there, seen it, done it, and you find out who you can trust. It will be interesting to see the ones he may sign again if he gets that opportunity in the future.

“I think over the journey there’s been a number of players he’s been very successful with, and maybe one or two Chris might find he may be disappointed in. Chris can only acknowledge that and give his own view.”

He added: “I’ve had some really strong conversations this week with a few of the players who I feel did let Chris down. That can remain private.

“But they know you don’t come to Carlisle for a holiday but to work hard, you represent the club, want to put that badge on and wear it with pride. The fans expect it, I expect it. I worked very hard on doing those deals for the right monies.

“If they’ve let Chris down, they will know. It’s that trust…Chris is a believer in it, he has his morals as a good, strong northern person, and they have let him down, some of them.”

Holdsworth added that it had been “horrible” having to make the call to Beech to inform him of the board’s decision.

“Chris Beech is a good guy. I don’t think we’ve had a fallout in the two years he’s been here,” he added

“I didn’t want to be making that call. It ruined my day. All Saturday night I’m thinking of what can we do to change that. It was a board decision and I made the call, and it wasn’t one I wanted to make. I’m sorry it happened.”

Holdsworth said United wanted to find a new boss now who could turn the team’s fortunes around and make Carlisle into a side that can challenge for promotion.

He was also asked about the accountability in the club regarding results by BBC Radio Cumbria and said: “I’ll say it again, I’ve said it about 5,000 times, I don’t pick the players.

“If anybody’s got an idea they’re my players – they’re not, they’re Chris Beech’s and the club’s players. Trust me on that. If it was my team it would be a completely different set-up.

“I don’t pick the players. I do the deals with the financial constraints this club has and with a method that makes this club successful.”

*Listen to a section of David Holdsworth's press conference by clicking the play button at the top of this article