AN UNHAPPY Dean Saunders criticised his players following their 3-0 defeat to Millwall last night and warned: “If we keep defending like that, we will be in League One.”
Goals either side of half-time from Andy Keogh, his fourth in six outings, Harry Kane and Darius Henderson saw the Lions complete a league double over Rovers.
Saunders’ troops have now gone seven matches without a win at the Keepmoat Stadium and remain four points adrift of safety in the Championship with nine matches left.
Millwall raced into a 2-0 lead after 13 minutes and Saunders, who was subjected to criticism from sections of the home fans after a lacklustre showing, said the sluggish start “killed everyone”.
He refused to blame goalkeeper Carl Ikeme despite Kane’s shot from distance slipping through his fingers, saying: “It was a freak goal. You could hit 100 of them at Carl and he saves 99 of them.”
Saunders acknowledged his back four struggled to cope with the front two of Keogh and Henderson and described the third as “soul-destroying”.
“When you spend hours on the training ground and go over the basics (it is frustrating),” he said. “If we keep defending like that, we will be in League One.
“My job is to change the personnel and get people in who can do their jobs properly at this level. There are players at this club who have scars from losing so many games. My job is turn it around because I want to win.
“Not enough of them are producing. The boys had the stuffing knocked out of them. The Derby game has done a bit of damage to us because the expectation had gone up with the two home games.
“We have got to roll our sleeves up, come out fighting have some belief in ourselves and have some nerve.”
Tommy Spurr is set for surgery on his broken hand and will not play again this season. Talented winger Kyle Bennett is a major doubt for the trip to Southampton due to a problem with his big toe.