Paul Dickov labelled Doncaster Rovers’ humbling 3-0 defeat to table-toppers Bristol City as a “wake-up call”.
The Scot - who refused to defend Harry Forrester for his second sending off in three games - admitted Rovers’ below-par performance at Ashton Gate had caught him by surprise.
Dickov had travelled to the west country in confident mood after praising his players’ attitude on the training ground since the home defeat to Oldham a fortnight ago.
But he offered no excuses after watching Doncaster’s 100% away record blown away by the Robins.
Dickov said: “When you come to teams like this you have to give yourself a chance, and we didn’t do that with the three goals we conceded.
“The first goal is a set piece, from which people haven’t done their jobs again.
“The second one is comical and the third was just sloppy.
“It was a bit of a surprise really, because as I said in the build-up to the game, they’d been excellent during the break.
“But if you concede goals like that you’ll not give yourselves a chance. It was schoolboy stuff.
“What we have to do is work really hard at it on the training ground to put it right.
“It’s a wake-up call for us all,” he added.
“If anybody thought this league was going to be easy this year, then it’s not. I always knew that. I always knew it was going to be a difficult season for us.”
Forrester, sent off against Port Vale last month, was booked in the first half for a perceived dive before being shown a second yellow card after the restart for kicking the ball away.
Dickov said: “It’s a penalty at 0-0 and yet again it’s another big decision that’s gone against us.
“But I’m not going to defend Harry for the second yellow. It’s a stupid, stupid yellow card.
“He’s apologised to his teammates. He knows he’s let them down and he’s let himself down too.”
Rovers will today assess the extent of Rob Jones’ hamstring injury which saw Rovers’ skipper withdrawn during the first half.