Doncaster Rovers: ‘Let me take the strain’ - Ferguson urges his players to ‘relax and play’

James Coppinger against Colchester - his record-equalling 468th appearance for Rovers. Photo:  Andrew Roe
James Coppinger against Colchester - his record-equalling 468th appearance for Rovers. Photo: Andrew Roe
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Darren Ferguson has urged his Doncaster Rovers squad to ‘relax and play’.

Ferguson watched his team recover from a nervous start to beat Colchester United 2-0 in his first home game in charge on Saturday with goals from debutant Conor Grant and recalled striker Andy Williams.

The Scot feels his players became too uptight prior to him arriving at the club.

And Ferguson wants them to release the shackles on the pitch by getting to know him as a manager - and letting him take full responsibility for results and performances.

“I just think that, watching them, it’s more about a belief thing - to believe in what we’re doing,” said Ferguson.

“The opening period of the game we were a little bit nervous.

“But when we had a bit more composure in our game, I thought we were a much better team.

“It’s important they understand and get to know what I’m like as a manager because the responsibility of how we play, and the results and all the rest of it, I can take that responsibility off them. That’s part of my job.

“They’ve just got to relax and play.

“I think maybe before they’ve been too uptight and worried about that, but they don’t have to worry about that any more.”

Rovers’ fourth league win of the season lifted them out of the bottom four and up to 18th in the League One table.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” said Ferguson.

“We can definitely be better, I know that.

“It wasn’t a lucky win, I thought we deserved to win the game but there’s plenty of improvement in them.”

Saturday’s game saw James Coppinger, who set up both goals, equal Colin Douglas’s all-time appearance record of 468.