Rovers 0 Dundalk 4 - Robbo's Verdict
Dave Robertson has urged Sligo Rovers' fans to 'stick with the team' following a second consecutive defeat of the season.
Rovers were beaten 4-0 by champions Dundalk at The Showgrounds on Saturday night, with goals from Patrick McEleney, Michael Duffy, Ciaran Kilduff and Tommy Stewart taking the Lilywhites joint top of the table.
Robertson says fans need to stick by the team, as he will ensure they come out of this stronger.
"Stick with us. Stick with the team. This group of players will give you everything that they have got. We'll be continuing to work and out things right because that's what we're all about. I personally, and I know the players feel it, we're hurting at the minute. We have to fight through those feelings and make sure we come out of it stronger," he said on a difficult night for the Bit o'Red.
He added: "I'm hurting more than anyone could imagine. Deep down on a personal level I really am hurting at this moment in time. Second game in and even more so with a result like that at The Showgrounds. It's a real kick in the teeth, that's the only way I can describe it."
The Rovers boss felt that the energy his side lacked last week had returned for the meeting with Stephen Kenny's side.
"The energy was there this evening. We started the game well. Their first opportunity they get a free-kick on the edge of the box and to be fair it's a great free-kick from Patrick McEleney. It puts us a little bit on the backfoot. We stuck to the game plan and we were solid. The second goal is a real disappointing one because there's a runner from midfield who gets a fortunate touch and we didn't have that slice of luck at that stage. At half-time I felt we were still in the game and at the start of the second half really positively but the sending off of Jonah, who I felt was magnificent this evening up until the point where he got sent off, not that there was anything wrong with it, it really changes the dynamic of the game."
Jonah Ayunga's second half dismissal for a second yellow card was described as 'soft' by Robertson, but he praised the efforts of the 19-year-old.
“I felt it was soft. The first one is just a header, a 50/50, a shoulder to shoulder. The lad falls over, rolls over, like something out of a Hollywood film and the referee produces a yellow card which was disappointing because I would never ask my players to do that. That's part of the game. I feel he's been tricked into it to a degree. The second one is a tackle, a 50/50. I haven't watched it back on video yet but I will do. He gives him another yellow and sends him off. I thought Jonah's performance levels this evening were excellent. When players do things like that it lifts the crowd and it gets everyone off their seats, that's what you want. I was really pleased with that."
As Rovers continue to search for their first points of the season, Roberson concedes that there is still work to be done.
"There's bits that we need to put right, that we want to put right. We've had those conversations in the dressing room, we'll continue to have them. The players will continue to work hard, because they are at the minute and fair play to them. Now is a time where everyone has to show their character. Whilst I've got air in my lungs I'm prepared to fight tooth and nail to represent this football club with the pride and the passion it deserves."
Listen to the interview below: