A DEJECTED Doncaster Rovers manager Dean Saunders slammed his players “terrible” defending as Leeds United cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory at the Keepmoat Stadium last night.
Rovers were comprehensively beaten thanks to strikes either side of half time from Danny Pugh, Ross McCormack and Tom Lees.
It was Rovers first defeat since Saunders succeeded Sean O’Driscoll at the helm and the former Welsh international striker was unhappy with the three goals his side shipped in. Two of the strikes came from set pieces and Saunders has promised to shore up his leaky backline.
He said: “They were three terrible goals to concede; the third in particular was a joke. If you concede goals like that, you have no chance. I thought we started the game well and had them on the back foot for the first 10 to 15 minutes but we gave a daft free kick away on the touchline and they scored from it. It was a disastrous goal to concede. I was flabbergasted.
“Players dropped their heads a bit and too many of them didn’t turn up. Sometimes you learn more when you lose than when you win. We have got to tighten up. We have got to roll our sleeves up and look to redeem ourselves on Tuesday against Blackpool.”
Saunders was pleased with the way Chris Kirkland and Herita Ilunga acquitted themselves on debut but he was frustrated by the amount of times Rovers surrendered possession.
“We are supposed to be a passing team and there were too many times when passes were going astray,” he said. “We have got a problem; we are in a relegation battle. I have learned more tonight than I have in other three games. Perhaps those results papered over the cracks.”
Boss Simon Grayson heaped praise on Leeds after a professional performance which saw his side move up to fifth in the Championship. The visitors recorded their second clean sheet in a row and are unbeaten in five matches, having picked up 13 points out of a possible 15.
“We worked hard when we didn’t have possession and were dangerous on the counter-attack. We have got some good players who are playing very confidently. I’m delighted to have kept a clean sheet.”
Leeds player Andy Keogh said his side had deserved the win. “I should have scored but at 3-0, you cannot complain” he said. Team mate Tom Lees added: “If we keep a clean sheet we always stand a chance because we have got such firepower.”