'We were terrible' - County boss delivers brutally honest verdict after Parade loss
NEWPORT County AFC manager Graham Coughlan has demanded a reaction from his players after their "terrible" performance in defeat to Doncaster Rovers.
The boss pulled no punches after the 1-0 defeat at Rodney Parade that leaves the Exiles 18th in the League Two table, eight points above the relegation zone.
County were lacklustre throughout – they managed just one shot on target – and Doncaster deservedly took the spoils thanks to Kyle Knoyle’s powerful finish approaching the hour.
READ MORE: Match report from Rodney Parade
The Exiles were hunting a third league win on the spin and had taken 11 points from a possible 18 under Coughlan yet he was angered, and perplexed, by their display.
“We were terrible,” said the manager. “We are all angry but I am not going to talk emotionally after a game.
“That performance was not like us, it’s not us and what we have been serving up over recent weeks. We need to go away, analyse it and look at why we had so many players not at the races.
“They had an off day, from the start we gave the ball away and couldn’t get any aspect of our game going.
“You’ve got to give Doncaster credit, they were the better team and probably deserved the victory, but it just looked as if they wanted it more, which is not something that I would expect from our group.
“Let’s be honest, the lads have been different class since I’ve come in and a great group to work with.
“I don’t want to see that type of performance again and I am sure they will react. In fact, I know that they will react because I know what they are made of.”
County were poor throughout but Coughlan was disappointed they didn’t hold firm to at least take a share of the spoils.
“In football you have days when you can’t put one foot in front of the other, can’t make a pass and nothing comes off for you,” he said.
“But we could have played terribly and come away with a point. We could have dug deep and showed character to get a point before dusting ourselves down.
“We didn’t and the worrying part was that we lacked self-belief to nick an equaliser, and it would have been nicking one because we got what we deserved, nothing.
“We will play badly again between now and the end of the season but the key in football is to take something out of the game when you don’t play well, like we didn’t today.”
County travel to Hartlepool next Saturday before facing AFC Wimbledon, Leyton Orient and Crawley over the festive period.