The Doncaster Rovers squad can expect plenty of defensive work on the training ground in the coming weeks as furious boss Paul Dickov looks to hammer home his message.
Dickov was incredibly downbeat after witnessing his side’s awful performance in their 3-0 defeat at Port Vale on Saturday.
And he suggested some of his players may have grown complacent over their defensive effort after starting the season well in that department.
Despite the lack of goals from his side so far this term, Dickov has promised defensive training will be top of the agenda at Cantley Park as he bids to right the wrongs of Saturday’s woeful show.
“I’ll take people having an off day with the ball but we’ve spoken constantly about how we play without the ball,” Dickov told the Star. “People have seen it in pre-season and in the first few games but it seemed to go out of the window on Saturday.
“Whether they got carried away because I’ve been on about how good we have been defensively or they’ve read comments about how we’re hard to break down and maybe they’ve switched off.
“They be doing a lot of work between now and the end of the season and if it’s purely on defensive work then tough, that’s what we’ll do.
“There’s been a lot of talk about what we’re creating but I’ve always said you need a solid base defensively to win games.”
Dickov says he will take the brunt of the criticism on his shoulders after the performance which left supporters angry but insists his players know they have to be better.
Most players were waved away as they went across to the away end to applaud fans after the game.
Dickov said: “I’ll always hold my hands up and take the blame because I’m the manager and I’ve got thick skin.
“But if we are going to defend as a unit like we did then we’re going to be in trouble.
“The players know exactly how I feel about that performance.”
Rovers suffered the blow of losing Harry Forrester for two months due to apparent ankle ligament damage.
Forrester suffered the injury during the draw with Southend United last Wednesday with the problem being worse than first thought.
Dickov is keen to check on the progress of Paul Keegan and Dany N’Guessan on their returns to fitness before deciding on a move in the transfer market with Nathan Tyson also sidelined for a similar time to Forrester.
Dickov said: “We want to have a look at the players that are coming back and how they are progressing and if we don’t think they’re progressing soon enough, it might be something we have to look at.”
Keegan and N’Guessan both commence on-pitch running over the weekend.