Buckley admits reflection needed after defeat

Sligo Rovers manager Liam Buckley has admitted reflection is needed ahead of the final six games of season as his side were well beaten in Tallaght Stadium on Friday.

The Bit O’ Red remain in third place but slumped after a 2-0 defeat to Shamrock Rovers last night in a game where the home side dominated. 

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Buckley said: “It was definitely a bad night at the office. In fairness to Shamrock Rovers, they will be league champions for a reason, they’re the best team in the league and passed it very well tonight. 

“They’ve outplayed us in the first half by a mile. In the second half I thought we came into it a small bit better but nothing to warrant anything out of the game. They were worthy winners.”

The Bit O’ Red squad was disrupted for the game – as it has been for large parts of the difficult run in the second half of the season, with Robbie McCourt forced out early on last night.

Greg Bolger has one game left on a suspension while Shane Blaney could make the game with Harps on Saturday as he returns to training this week.

The Rovers boss has looked at the basic areas of improvement.

“From our point of view with six games to go, we have to play better ourselves, especially with the run in of games we have. We still have our eye on Europe along with Derry, Bohs and everyone else for that matter. But we’ll need to play better than we did tonight. 

“We have to be fundamentally play better. If we don’t we wont deserve to get (a European place).

“The quality in our play has dropped off. We have been down different players, every week we’re down some. Greg Bolger is missing this evening, Robbie McCourt started the game but he had a neck issue and didn’t hold out. Every week it seems to be the case where we’re down players and the squad is fairly tight. That said, I do expect them to play better to be honest.”

Rovers play three of the teams in the top half of the table to close the season, while the next three matches are teams at the bottom.

Form tables give a different story to the league in this competitive season and Buckley knows his side are in the mix.

Looking back on the run, he defended the players and said he believes they have the desire to secure the points needed for Europe.

“This will go right through to the death, to the final three games of the season, where for us we’re at home to Bohs, away to Pat’s and away to Derry. They’re all going to be critical games.

“They (the players) all want it. They’re all trying. The quality needs to be far better, it needed to be far better this evening and for the last few weeks to be honest. We haven’t done enough except for a couple of games when we got a couple of wins a while back. 

“That quality of play hasn’t been good enough and we have to change that. We do need to reflect on where we’re at and see where we go from there.”