Fight or flight: Now is not the time for perfect football, says Saunders

El Hadji Diouf in action against Blackpool. Picture: Liz Mockler D1777LM
El Hadji Diouf in action against Blackpool. Picture: Liz Mockler D1777LM

DEAN Saunders has told his relegation battlers to roll up their sleeves and forget about playing “perfect football” ahead of their huge clash with Leeds United.

Tuesday night’s 3-1 home defeat to Blackpool left Doncaster bottom of the Championship and seven points adrift of safety.

Saunders told the Free Press his players must sacrifice some of their footballing principles to dig themselves out of danger.

“I told the players after the game on Tuesday night they are in a relegation battle and they need to wake up,” said Saunders.

“We’re not half-way up the league in a position where we can stroke the ball around and play perfect football.

“We have to fight for everything.

“The boys have got to roll up their sleeves.

“If you’re not playing well, you’ve got to stop the player you’re playing against from playing well.”

El Hadji Diouf’s penalty raised hopes of a comeback against Blackpool after Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s brace had given the Tangerines a stranglehold.

And Saunders will be heartened by the way his side fought back into contention before Nouha Dicko’s strike ended the game as a contest - even if his team’s finishing left a lot to be desired.

“We missed too many chances - and they were good chances,” said Saunders.

“If we weren’t making those chances I’d be more worried.

“But we can’t afford to miss chance after chance like we did on Tuesday.

“We have got to start grinding out results.

“We don’t have to score wonder goals every time, we just need to get on the end of a cross or force one over the line.”

Striker Chris Brown could be in contention for a recall to the squad on Saturday after impressing in training this week.