RONNIE MOORE insisted the quality of performance – and not the tactics – were responsible for Tranmere’s 2-0 defeat at Bristol Rovers.
The result was a blow to Tranmere’s hopes of moving closer to the play-off zone and left them without a goal to show from their last six league and cup games on the road.
Moore said: “The lack of goals is worrying and people are probably thinking we are being negative. But this was a below par performance. It just wasn’t us. We went long all day. We don’t hump the ball, we like to pass it. But we gave the ball away to easily. We said before the kick-off that we have to start winning some away games and make the most of our home form. Bristol Rovers were struggling for a win before this game and we have to come to places like this and assert ourselves, set the tempo of the game.
“Everything we spoke about in the dressing room beforehand was fine with the players. But once we got onto the pitch we did not produce it. We had so many players off colour.”
Moore revealed that his team “looked tired” but would not use the extra time exertions of an FA Cup replay defeat to Peterborough last Tuesday as an excuse.
He added: “We did not really create a chance ourselves and I think we made their goalkeeper make two saves. It was certainly a below par performance.
“We had a few more than 100 supporters down here and they were unhappy, complaining and shouting behind me about giving the ball away and being negative. They say the 4-5-1 system is being negative but we had nine clean sheets in 12 games using it and when we played 4-4-2 we were conceding at a rate of two goals per game. People forget that, they have short memories. I feel that if we had put in the performance we are capable of, then we would have got the result we wanted. I was as disappointed as anyone and the players were down on the dressing room. They know they let themselves and the supporters down.”
Bristol went a goal up four minutes before half-time through Jo Kuffour and doubled the advantage on 50 minutes through Chris Lines.
Moore said: “The first goal was against the run of play because neither side looked like scoring a goal before halftime. I wanted to get the players in at the interval to give them a rocket and get them going. We changed the system and went to 4-4-2 but even then, when we got into good positions, the quality of the ball into the box was disappointing.”
Moore has the option of reverting to 4-4-2 when Tranmere take on Scunthorpe in the northern semi-final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Glanford Park tomorrow.
Experienced striker Chris Greenacre could be available after spending several weeks sidelined by a back injury.
Moore added: “If Chris Greenacre is fit it is possible we could go to 4-4-2. But we beat Scunthorpe at home playing 4-5-1. People should not get it into their heads that it is a negative system.”