Phillip Cocu pulled no punches when offering his assessment of Derby County’s 4-0 home defeat to Blackburn Rovers at Pride Park Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Tyrhys Dolan opened the scoring after 11 minutes from close-range before a quickfire double former Rams midfielder Bradley Johnson had the visitors three goals to the good by the fifteenth minute.
Adam Armstrong rounded off the scoring in the second period on what proved to be an afternoon to forget for the Rams.
Cocu labelled Derby’s performance, particularly in the first half, as unacceptable and he felt that the attitude of his players was not to the level expected of them.
“It was unacceptable, especially the first-half,” Cocu said in an honest interview with RamsTV after the final whistle.
“We were better with our attitude and created more opportunities in the second half, but I always think there is a link why you don’t score and concede a lot.
“The link, for me, is the way we go into the game and what we are willing to deliver. We talked last season on a few occasions about our attitude and our core values and what we stand for.
“I told the players afterwards that we know in every game we need to put up a fight, show desire to defend, win personal battles and for the team to have a lot of energy.
“We can’t just rely on nice combinations; you need to do both and I can’t accept it. Three goals in five minutes is unbelievable.”
He added: “If after three goals we switch on and create a few opportunities, then it will be a hard and long season for us and definitely we don’t need to talk about the play-offs.
“I think the first concern is to get out of the bottom of the table and to get some points in.”
A big frustration for the Derby boss was the fact his side conceded three goals inside just five minutes early on.
Jason Knight and Max Bird had opportunities in the opening ten minutes before the visitors took control.
Cocu admitted the Rams made life very difficult for themselves and he added: “We played out from the back a few times well early on and got into good positions.
“There were two opportunities, but then we conceded a goal and that happens in football.
“We always say ‘stay in the game’. It is one goal, if it stays 1-0 then you still can go on and win the game. But if you concede three and four; you cannot win..
“It is not only the disappointment of the lack of passion and intensity but conceding three goals in five minutes like we did. How difficult do you make it playing a game? We made it very difficult for ourselves.”
Derby will make the long journey to Norwich City next Saturday in their final fixture before the October international break.
Cocu is calling for an improvement both in all areas when the Rams take on the Canaries at Carrow Road before entering the two-week gap without a competitive fixture.
He said: “Everybody must take the position we are in very seriously.
“If you look at the schedule, there are tough games coming up. They are not impossible to win, but not easy and we have to look to improve.”