Wayne Rooney labelled Derby County’s performance as ‘not good enough’ after were beaten 2-1 at Barnsley on Wednesday night.
A win for Derby would have seen them move off the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship table for the first time since being deducted 12 points for entering administration in September.
Derby took the lead after 24 minutes in South Yorkshire as striker Sam Baldock netted his second goal of the campaign from around six yards out.
Barnsley drew themselves back level six minutes before half-time, however, as Victor Adeboyejo’s deflected effort beat Kelle Roos.
The home side turned the match on its head early in the second half with Aaron Leya Iseka keeping his cool inside the box to fire beyond Roos.
Derby pushed for a leveller as the clock ticked down and substitute Lee Buchanan hit the crossbar with a header in injury time.
As well as being unhappy with the result, Rooney was far from happy with his side’s performance over the course of the 90 minutes.
Speaking to RamsTV after the game at Oakwell, Rooney said: “Tonight was not good enough.
“It was a game where we took the lead, and we probably didn’t deserve to take the lead if I’m honest, but we managed to get ahead.
“We had to calm the game down, settle it down and play with more composure. We didn’t do that and we conceded two very sloppy goals.
“The first goal was poor for a number of reasons and the second goal was just crazy. We set up to defend a wide free kick and one pass put their player clean through on goal and it’s not acceptable.
“It’s always a concern when you lose football matches but as I’ve said before whether we’ve won or lost, the one thing we’ve had is players playing with aggression and pride for the shirt.
“I just feel that energy and aggression hasn’t been there as much as it was in the first part of the season.”
He added: “Whether that is down to a lot of games I’m not sure, but it’s the minimum I expect is to play with energy and aggression, get to the ball and put pressure on the opposition and we need to get better at it.
“Maybe the lads think they’re better team than what we are, I don’t know, because I’m asking them to play with the ball. Out of possession, we must be better and put more pressure on the ball. If the players didn’t know or didn’t realise that we were in a relegation fight then they certainly do now.”
Rooney admitted the chance to overtake Barnsley, and close the gap on others above them with results going in the Rams’ favour, was a big missed opportunity.
“This is a missed opportunity,” he said. “If we won the game, we would have gone above Barnsley but on the other hand, you lose and you’re six points behind.
“It’s a disappointing result, disappointing performance and disappointing night but we’ve got another game coming up in a couple of days’ time at Millwall and I’m expecting a reaction. There has to be a reaction.”
He concluded: “The players have to show me more. Tonight, for the full 90 minutes I felt it wasn’t good enough so they need to give more both as individuals and as a group.”
Derby are back on the road on Saturday when they head south to take on Millwall at The Den ahead of the November international break (3pm kick-off).