Darren Ferguson called on his players to be braver on the ball following the 2-0 defeat to Middlesbrough.
As expected, the Premier League side dominated possession. But when Rovers did get it, Ferguson thought too many of his men took the easy option.
“I thought there were too many safe passes, too many people not taking chances in terms of going backwards too much and not playing forward,” Ferguson said.
“And these are the games, really, that you can do that it in. Of course, you don’t want to lose them but you’d rather lose this than a league game.
“I think it became very obvious that because we maybe tried one or two harder passes and didn’t keep it, we then became too negative I felt. Too safe.
“We spoke about it after the game about being braver on the ball. That’s certainly the one thing I would take out of the game.
“It was a good exercise for me to look at, when things perhaps weren’t going great in the game, how the players worked it out or didn’t work it out as was the case today. It’s something we really need to improve on.”
Saturday’s game provided precious little entertainment.
“These games can be a little bit tedious, if you know what I mean,” said Ferguson.
“It’s pre-season. One minute on Tuesday we looked a good team and then today you can go away thinking ‘I’m a bit worried about that’. But these games are what they are and you’ve got to treat them accordingly.
“We were against good opposition. There’s a lot of stuff we need to improve on, which is why these are good exercises. It’s the right time of the season to look at things in detail with the players and say ‘we don’t want you to do this and we don’t want you to do that.’
“I would have to say after today there is more to improve on than there was good. But you have to look at these games in the right way. No injuries is a bonus.”