Bristol Rovers: Is pressure of playing at home telling on team?
MARK McGhee believes some of his Bristol Rovers players may be struggling to come to terms with the pressure of having to perform in front of the Memorial Stadium crowd.
The Rovers boss watched on as the players were unable to replicate the sublime performance they had produced before the game was abandoned at Wycombe seven days earlier to suffer a disappointing defeat at the hands of Morecambe.
Second-half goals from Gary McDonald, Nick Fenton and Kevin Ellison secured a 3-0 victory for Jim Bentley's side, which leaves Rovers winless and in the relegation zone after three games of their season.
It was a second successive reverse at the Memorial Stadium following the opening day defeat at the hands of Oxford United, and McGhee said: "The players appear to be feeling the pressure of playing here at home.
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"Bristol Rovers are a big club in this division and there is always a big crowd, who expect a lot from their team. I'm beginning to wonder if one or two of the players are struggling to handle that.
"Some of them seem to find it difficult at times, but we have to overcome that. It is something I need to go away and have a think about because home form is crucial if you are to be successful.
"We managed to go unbeaten for a long while at the end of last season and I wanted us to keep that going. We haven't managed to do that and it is something we need to address."
McGhee, meanwhile, left the players to their own devices at the final whistle before ordering them to stay behind and watch a DVD of the second-half performance before they were allowed to leave the stadium on Saturday evening.
"I had no intention of going off on one," the manager said. "I'm capable of screaming and shouting, but on this occasion I don't think it is required.
"I think it is important we get to the bottom of what has happened before we leave to go home, so I think it is best we all sit down and watch the game.
"It's not something I've ever felt the need to do before, but we need to look at what went wrong, which players were involved and then question whether they should be in the team or not.
"I've got my own thoughts on it, but by the end of this evening we'll know exactly who has done what. I've got my own thoughts on it, but we'll know for certain who is complicit after watching the second-half again.
"There'll be some fingers pointed and I want to see people accepting some responsibility for their part in what went on out there. It's only right that people are prepared to stand up and be counted.
"I do believe this group of players are honest and will hold their hands up – but there is a danger in that as well. It's easy to hold your hands up after the event when they've seen it on the DVD. What we need is people accepting responsibility out on the pitch when things aren't going our way."
McGhee is expected to make changes for tomorrow night's Johnstone's Paint Trophy first-round clash against Yeovil. Cian Bolger, who agreed a six-month loan deal to join from Leicester City on transfer deadline day, is expected to start at the heart of defence.