'Fragile' Scunthorpe United lack character and passion says Brian Laws after Doncaster Rovers defeat
Brian Laws labelled Scunthorpe United's players as 'fragile' and lacking character and passion as he delivered a damning assessment of their derby defeat at Doncaster Rovers.
The Iron equalled their biggest loss of the campaign - the third time they have been beaten 4-0 this season - at the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday, again falling apart after going 2-0 down to their South Yorkshire neighbours.
Doncaster had taken just 10 points in front of their own fans this term prior to hosting the Iron, yet the outcome of this game never looked in doubt with United uninventive going forward and too easy to score against.
Scunthorpe gifted the hosts the lead in the 22nd minute when Christian Ribeiro headed a cross into his own net and in the second half David Cotterill, former Iron defender Rob Jones and Billy Paynter compounded their misery.
Laws, clearly angry at his side's capitulation, said United had to react better to going behind.
"He made a disappointing judgement call, but there's no point in ramming it down his throat – he made a mistake," said the Iron boss, on Ribeiro's own goal.
"These things happen, but so what? You've got to move on get on with it.
"What we've found is it seems to affect everyone when we concede.
"Whilst everything is okay, the players are fine. But as soon as we concede a goal there's this fragileness about us. That's not just now, it's been like that all season.
"Today we didn't pressure, we didn't tackle and we didn't get close to them.
"It was a local derby and when tackling, we weren't even going to ground.
"We could have probably shoved the kit straight back into the kit bag without having to wash it.
"If you're in a derby and you don't show any passion, you're going to get what we did.
"I'd have loved to have come off being able to say 'the lads had a good go' but in the second half we didn't and I can't disguise it.
"I didn't see enough characters out there that could actually handle a battle."
Laws believes one of Scunthorpe's biggest problems is in their make-up.
He said the Iron dressing room was the quietest he had worked in, with very few personalities.
Laws hinted that the departure of Cliff Byrne under previous manager Alan Knill back in May had gone a long way to creating the current issues that stand in the way of League One survival.
But with the loan window now closed until January and little money with which to work, there is no easy way of halting their slide.
"The simple way to change the lack of character would be to change the players," he continued.
"We're not in a position to do that.
"Yes we understand what we need. Unfortunately we can't change it now, though there will be a period of time when we can.
"At this moment we've got to dig in with the resources we've got and that means the players. They have got to start showing some mettle and honesty.
"They need to show some character, drive and commitment.
"They are such a quiet bunch of lads. I've got to say, that in all my time in football, this is probably the quietest dressing room in terms of characters I've known.
"Unfortunately the club got rid of some really good characters and they've not replaced them. We need characters, they are the heart and soul of a football club, particularly at Scunthorpe."
Laws said the Iron's players could learn a lot from the club's fans, more than 1,000 of whom witnessed another dismal day of an increasingly woeful season.
"The fans were absolutely brilliant today. They're more passionate than the players and they've seen that week in, week out," he added.