RONNIE MOORE says his Tranmere players will get “a rude awakening” when they return to training today after suffering a second defeat on the bounce at the hands of Leyton Orient.
Rovers held on to top spot in the League One table over the weekend after closest rivals Doncaster and Swindon also tripped up and the top third of the division tightened up.
But it was the team’s timid performance at Brisbane Road that most concerned boss Moore.
He said: “We let Orient boss us. We don’t look like a team who are going to score and we don’t defend too well either. It is a recipe for disaster. So we’ve got to put it right – and put it right sharpish. Our strength has been commitment, desire and the willingness to chase and close down. I think they think they can play now and some of them think they are better than they are. So they’re going to get a rude awakening – hard work.
“We have a home game next Friday against Shrewsbury Town and it is being televised live. We have got to show people why we have been at the top of the league over most of the past four months. If we play like we did against Orient, we will get beaten again.”
Moore admits he cannot put a finger on what has gone wrong with his team, who were beaten in three of the last four outings and performed particularly poorly in the first half of the last two games.
“I wish I had the answers,” Moore said. “It is a collective thing. They’ve been fantastic all season. Now they are having a little wobble at the wrong time. We’re lucky the teams around us are having a bad time as well.
“Some people will point a finger and say our bubble has burst. So we’ve got to put the wedge in now.”
Moore conceded Tranmere were “second-best all afternoon” at Orient and added: “We are miles better than that. We were weak from set plays. Every time the ball came into our box the opposition looked like they were going to score. We’ve got to stop crosses coming in. There were too many of them.
“When we concede a goal it looks like we might concede two or three very quickly. Basically we are too soft centred.”
Moore conceded: “We were lucky to be 1-0 down at half-time. We had a little go in the second half we conceded another sloppy goal from a set play. We got ourselves back in the game with Michael O’Halloran’s goal but our quality in and around the box wasn’t good enough.”