Tommy Rowe insists Rovers must treat Saturday’s clash with AFC Wimbledon as the most important game of the season as they seek to respond emphatically to the defeat to Harrogate Town.
Speaking to the media following the 2-0 loss, Rowe said he and his teammates must take accountability for the manner of the performance.
And the necessity to offer an immediate and strong positive response makes Saturday’s game all the more important, according to the club captain.
Rowe on how the game played out:
“It was very frustrating and there’s not much more to it. It’s a hard one to take. You try not to be too emotional after a game and we’ll go away and dissect it. We’ll have a good look at ourselves and have some honest chats so it’s sorted for the next game.
“We’ve got back-to-back games and that’s a good thing but only if we get to the bottom of this defeat.
“We let the manager down tonight, we let the staff down, more importantly we let the fans down. But we let ourselves down as well. The players need to take accountability for this one because we went to Edgeley Park and performed so well to get a hard-fought draw. It was a chance for us to kick on and we said all the right things before the game.
“To start the way we did, we didn’t give ourselves the best chance to dominate the game. We don’t always get the right results but we usually dominate the ball and we couldn’t do that in this one for large parts and caused our own problems. In the end it took the game away from us.”
On the disappointing nature of the performance.
“It’s hard to get my head around. It’s a performance out of the blue. It’s not something that we’ve been used to, especially at home where we usually come and say that’s what we are.
“The main thing for me is to accept this was the players - the players went out there and performed that way. The manager set us up, the staff gave us everything they could have with every meeting precise for us to do what we need to do.
“We’re like this after every game, win, draw or loss. We dissect every game and learn a lot from game to game. We’re going to have to look each other in the face, be honest with each other and ask what more we need to do. There’s some deeper questions than that. We have to come back and improve in every area on the pitch.”
On addressing the lack of goals:
“It’s up to us to create chances but chances aren’t created if we don’t put ourselves in positions to score goals. That’s going to take more than what we’re doing right now. There were chances for us to take, still chances in a game like that. At 0-0 we could have broken the deadlock and held onto something.
“We’re at home. Our intentions before the game were to push ourselves into a position to go and get a result and build on the Stockport game. As a team, we let ourselves and everyone down.”
On the remainder of the season:
“I only envision the next game and for me it’s the biggest game of the season. How we react, for me, will say a lot about our character. We’re a very young side in terms of games played and people coming into the squad that have not played a lot of football.
“But it’s no excuse. It means the lads who are experienced need to make some corrections before the weekend. We need to make sure we get the lads ready and get back to the basics but perform at our absolute highest. It has to be a time for us to reset and we can go again.
“I’ll have to look at my own performance and see what I could have done more and better to help the team and give ourselves the chance to play with energy, more enthusiasm and what the Doncaster DNA is and what we’re used to and what we’re trying to build and develop.”
On the side being close to delivering Danny Schofield’s style:
“After a performance like this, you can draw your own conclusions but in my head we’ve been building really well. On the training ground we’ve been building some fantastic understanding and the next bit is the bravery and courage to take it onto the pitch and perform.
“That’s something that is an ongoing battle for the squad and we’ve been getting the better of it in my opinion. We need to take this as an anomaly and learn from it. When you do go searching, usually if you look deep enough you’ll find it. It’s not a case of letting this game go by and scratching it off. It’s happened and we really need to search for the answers.”
On the reaction of supporters:
“I love playing at home. There’s no better feeling. I’ve played here for a long time now and I know what it takes to win and be in a winning team here. I can see some key characteristics in this team and the teams I’ve been in that have won. They weren’t overnight successes. They took a long time to build. We had a lot of luck along the way and you could argue that we’ve not had that luck.
“We’re always adapting and nights like this slow us down a bit but the key thing is how we respond. We’re always going to take knocks and beaten up and bruised but if we can’t take accountability we won’t win on Saturday and we won’t even be in a fight. But I think we will.
“I looked around the changing room at the end and the right things were being said. We’ll get to see what happens before the weekend and hopefully it’s positive.”
“I only envision the next game and for me it’s the biggest game of the season. How we react, for me, will say a lot about our character. We need to make sure we get the lads ready and get back to the basics but perform at our absolute highest. It has to be a time for us to reset and we can go again.”