ARGYLE manager Carl Fletcher blamed a lack of quality after the Pilgrims suffered their second away defeat of the week, 1-0 at Rotherham.Substitute Kieran Agard scored the only goal at the New York Stadium, midway through the first half of a hard-fought game.
Fletch said: “We knew it was going to be tough. The way Rotherham are – they have got the longthrows, a good physical side, and are well organised – we knew it was going to be a tough test.
“We stuck to our task well at times, defensively, but I thought we were poor in possession, and that’s something that’s not like us.
“Our quality in possession wasn’t there and that let us down a bit.”
A defence in which teenager Curtis Nelson replaced injured captain Darren Purse withstood plenty of pressure from the home side’s set-pieces, including ex-Pilgrim Kári Árnason’s prodigious long throw-ins.
“We knew that any throw in the final third was coming into the box,” said Fletch, “and we’re not a massive side – we’ve only got Nelse who’s over 6ft.
“We had a game-plan to deal with the set-pieces and, to a degree, it worked pretty well, but, like I said, on the flip side, when we got the ball, the quality just wasn’t there.
“Nelse, with his athleticism and height...when he times the ball right, there is no-one that can beat him in the air and he stuck to his task well.
“I was pleased with how all the lads did defensively at the set-pieces. We had lads who were a lot smaller than the Rotherham players and they had to scrap and fight.
“A lot of them were marking big lads and had to put their head in and do certain things they aren’t accustomed to defensively.
“We didn’t help our defenders and midfielders when we had the ball because we didn’t keep it well enough.
“It wasn’t just the quality in short passes. It could have been anything: a longer ball; a ball into space; or a delivery. It just wasn’t there today.
“If you don’t have the ball, you are never going to get a foothold in the game and progress from there, and we didn’t have it.
“That was disappointing from our point of view – we didn’t keep the ball as well as we can.
“We still created a couple of half-chances and a couple of chances where we could have done better.”
It is the first time this season that Argyle have suffered back-to-back defeats, having been pipped 2-1 at Cheltenham in midweek.
Fletch said: “On Tuesday, we played really well and didn’t get what we deserve; today, we didn’t do well enough to get anything.
“On the day, Rotherham were just better than us.”