Mark Robins expressed his frustration after he said his Coventry City players failed to “have a go” at Middlesbrough.
The Sky Blues defended stoutly for 80-odd minutes at the Riverside Stadium before conceding the first of two late goals, but barely laid a glove on Neil Warnock’s men at the other end of the pitch where they managed a paltry three attempts, with just one on target over the entire course of the game on Teesside.
“I don’t think we deserved anything, honestly, because while we worked hard I am still looking for us to have a go. Just have a go!” said the City manager, speaking after the 2-0 defeat – the club’s fifth of the season.
“It can’t be lost on us that we are playing against teams that are better. And there are times when you are coming up against players who are outstanding at the level. They have played in the Premier League.
“Tonight isn’t one of those; these are a good side who have been at this level for a good while now and in the Premier League not too long ago. They have an experienced manager and you know they are going to fight.
“I thought we fought, to a degree, but we have to learn to do better at that but also have a go at teams.
“When are we going to really believe that we are going to get something from the game, because I don’t think we did.
“And while you know there are going to be some confidence missing, we can’t afford to do that.
“I have said to them in the dressing room that you don’t win championships that often. We are at this level because we have earned the right to be here but now we have to look to have a real good go to get to the level we need to get to.”
He added: “Now there are obviously mitigating factors in that we haven’t played for six months but I am not looking for excuses.
“But I am looking for reasons because we are still not there yet and we’re playing catch up to teams who have already played half a season.
“They’ve played 18 games and we have played eight, and we still need to get to the level.
“Everyone hates losing games. We have been out of this level for a long time and the difference between then and now is quite a lot. But just let’s have a go.
“Let’s have a real go because we had one shot, two shots, something like that. We have to do better than that.
“We have players coming back from injury and we have to play them in the games to get them fit, so we are going to take time to get used to that and we are going to lose games. And this is a period where we have lost too many and we need to start picking points up.
“But I can’t be too critical of them because I know where we’re at.
“We have to understand where we are in the Championship pecking order where there is a massive, massive difference.
“But by hook or by crook we have got to get to a higher level. The players are capable of doing it but it’s going to take a bit more time.”