Liam Rosenior pulled no punches when offering his honest assessment of Derby County’s display in their 3-0 reverse at Middlesbrough on Wednesday night.
Britt Assombalonga poked the ball past goalkeeper David Marshall from close range to give the hosts a 1-0 lead going into half-time.
Derby defender Matt Clarke turned a left-wing cross into his own net to double the home side’s lead midway through the second half, before Marvin Johnson curled home to round off a disappointing night late on.
Rosenior, who is part of Derby’s four-man coaching team leading the side following Phillip Cocu’s departure earlier this month, labelled the side’s performance as simply not good enough and unacceptable.
The result leaves the Rams at the foot of the Sky Bet Championship table with six points from their opening 13 matches – and Rosenior says the Rams need to turn their form around quickly.
“That today was unacceptable, unacceptable,” Rosenior, who holds the position of Specialist First Team Coach, told RamsTV.
“Although we lost 1-0 at Bristol City on Saturday, the performance provided some light in terms of the way the players played.
“I don’t know how, in three days, we can go from a performance like that to a performance like I saw in the first half tonight. In the second half, once the second goal went in, we saw heads go down and a lack of confidence.
“We need to sit down and work out what is right for this football club, because that is what matters. It is not me, or any individual, it is what matters about how this football club gets out of this situation we are in.
“I am proud to be part of this football club, but what I am not proud of is that performance tonight. I am not going to stand here and make excuses and talk about decisions. I just am speechless in what I saw first half in terms of desire, passion and winning duels.”
He added: “We knew what Middlesbrough were going to bring, but we didn’t match that. That is what makes me hurt. I can lose games of football; I can accept losing when you put a performance with intensity and energy.
“I can’t stand here and defend that. I can’t defend myself; I can’t defend anything about this evening.”
Rosenior says a long post-match debrief in the Derby dressing room at the Riverside Stadium saw the point reinforced to the squad that only they can get the club out of the situation they find themselves in.
At this moment in time, he says that attitude and desire goes above ability in terms of what he wants to see from the players on the pitch.
The 36-year-old explained: “We just spoke in the dressing room and the only people who are going to sort this out are the people inside that dressing room right now.
“We need to find a way and we need to find a method that is going to get us out of this. It is as simple as that.
“For me, ability now goes out of the window. Attitude is absolutely everything. I want to see a team that goes out on the pitch and gives everything for this football club and what the fans deserve.
“I can only apologise to them and everybody surrounding the club for that performance this evening.”
Derby face back-to-back home games in the next week, starting with the visit of Wycombe Wanderers to Pride Park Stadium on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
Rosenior has made it clear that the priority for everyone associated with the club is about finding a way forward.
“Every game is must win,” he said. “We need to find a method that is going to get us out of this situation and we need to find it really quick.
“Fortunately, we have a game in two days. It is two games until the next game and all I want to see is a group of players on the pitch giving everything for what should be a proud shirt.”