Rotherham United defender Semi Ajayi has been warned he has to learn fast after costing his side a goal for the second time this season.
The centre-half has been an impressive performer since joining the Millers from Cardiff City last season, but was at fault for the decisive strike in Saturday’s 2-1 League One defeat at Peterborough United.
Manager Paul Warne, who could wrap up a deal for a new central defender in the next few days, won’t tolerate the errors from the 23-year-old for much longer.
“I’m not going to rip Semi apart because he’s been excellent,” said the boss after the defeat at the ABAX Stadium left in his side in 15th spot three matches into the 2017/18 campaign.
“I’ve told him he needs to learn from his mistakes. It’s not the first time it’s happened. He needs to get that out of his game and get it out very quickly.”
Ajayi failed to deal with a routine long ball when the score was 1-1 against Posh and Rotherham were looking the side most likely to go on to victory, allowing Jack Marriott to grab a 75th-minute clincher for the home side.
His blunder followed a mishap against Lincoln City in the Carabao Cup earlier this month when a mix-up between him and goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell saw the Millers needlessly concede.
“Semi walked in an apologised to me,” Warne added after the weekend loss. “At least he knows he’s made an error. But at that time we were really on top.
“If I was in the front six or seven of that team, I’d be mortified we have conceded a goal like that because you don’t see my strikers getting a chance as easy as that.
“It’s hard to swallow but I have to take some pride in the way they played and fought back (from 1-0 down). I’m just disappointed we haven’t got anything from it.
“My players are a really good group. You could see when they equalised how together they all are and they honestly think they are going to win every game, which is a great mentality to have.”
The Millers were a match for opponents now second in the table and deserved a point.
Kieffer Moore had headed them level in the 55th minute with his fourth goal in two games.
Warne thought O’Donnell was beaten too easily by a shot by Marriott for Peterborough’s opener.
And he refused to blame the swirling wind for Ajayi’s misjudgement as the Posh striker muscled past the defender and beat the onrushing O’Donnell with a match-winning lob to claim his second goal.
“It’s the same for both players,” the manager said. “I understand he doesn’t go out to make mistakes, but he must realise someone is breathing down his neck.
“We need to eradicate individual errors and eradicate them fast.”