Tony Mowbray felt a Rovers team that was ‘thrown together’ looked off from the start as they fell to defeat at home to Nottingham Forest.
Joe Rothwell was a late withdrawal from the team that had been worked on in training as he was forced to self-isolate, as is Derrick Williams.
With Elliott Bennett, Joe Rankin-Costello, Lewis Holtby and Lewis Travis also out, and none of the new signings featuring, it saw Mowbray turn to first-year professional Luke Brennan who came on for his first ever senior appearance late on.
And Mowbray said: “The signs were there pretty early, we lacked intensity, something we’ve been so good at this year.
“It was a lot of basic errors from a team that looked like it hadn’t played together.
“We hadn’t had one day on the grass with that team. The team changed because of the current climate from the one we’d prepared during the week.
“It looked like 0-0 all over. I don’t think we were ever under serious threat. Joe Lolley, that’s not the first time he’s scored a shot from outside the box against us, we’d spoken about that, getting across when he cuts in from the right on his left foot.
“It was a frustrating day for us. It wasn’t as if we threatened their goal too much, we have to accept it.
“It was a tight game, you can win them by a set play or a deflected goal. What we have to do is not make them tight games and be out of sight.
“But it never looked like that with the way we started the game.
“The first half was as poor as we’ve been this year. It was a team that was thrown together and it was frustrating.”
Mowbray cut a frustrated figure on the touchline throughout, unhappy with the number of times his side gave the ball away.
The manager felt the first half was by far the poorest 45 minutes his side had put together all season, as they managed just one shot on target.
He added: “These are young guys and I want them to feel the expectation that I’m trying to pile onto them and they have to deal with expectation and pressure. That’s what football is.
“Let’s hope it’s a blip for us and we can push on and find our form again.
“It’s been a difficult two weeks, as it will have been for all clubs. It’s not been ideal.
“Three international games and then they get back on Friday, how are supposed to put a football team together that’s well coached and structured?
“You’re basically feeling that you’re throwing them together and hoping you get a result.”