Paul Dickov likes finding positives - but even the glass half-full Scot could not find anything good to say about Doncaster’s dreadful night on Teesside.
Rovers’ squad felt the full wrath of Dickov after comfortably their worst display under their new manager, failing to produce anything like the high-tempo that he demands.
Worse still, they completely forgot how to do many of the basics as they conceded four horrible goals and failed to put a side supposed to be lacking in confidence under any serious pressure.
The outcome could have been very different. Had James Coppinger’s drilled effort gone in during the early exchanges, the restless Riverside locals and their team might have gone into panic mode.
But, instead, a side still reeling from the departure of Tony Mowbray seized control of the game and played with a freedom and flair that defied their early season struggles.
The goals conceded could not have been more galling from a Doncaster point of view; a simple ball over the top, a cross and two set pieces. It was like a trip back in time to darker days in the Championship.
And if Dickov does not see an improvement on the training ground this week, he will be sorely tempted to wield the axe against Brighton.
Richie Wellens is certain to return. New signing Yun Suk-Young is a shoe in to start. And Marc De Val Fernandez, David Cotterill and Billy Paynter might also be knocking on Dickov’s door.
There was one inadvertent positive from Friday night and that is any complacency, which Dickov suggested might have crept in following Mowbray’s sacking (or was perhaps a remnant of the recent win over Leicester) will be kicked into the long grass. Dickov will come down on it like a tonne of bricks. Friday was a reality check that Rovers are nowhere near good enough to think they can just roll up and turn teams over at this level.
Their success, or lack of it, this season will revolve around sheer hard work; strangling teams, like they did to Blackburn and Leicester, not giving teams the time on the ball that Boro had in abundance.
And it’s those principles that Dickov will insist return on Saturday, regardless of personnel.