Bristol City manager Keith Millen laid the blame for the club’s 2-0 defeat to Leeds United at the door of his defence, despite a series of missed second-half chances.
Millen bemoaned the concession of two “poor” goals but was also left to rue his players’ failure to respond in kind during Saturday’s Championship fixture at Ashton Gate.
City were forced to chase the game after only 17 minutes when Robert Snodgrass escaped the clutches of several defenders to open the scoring, and Max Gradel’s shot through the legs of former England goalkeeper David James wrapped up United’s victory early in the second half.
Millen attempted to be forthright by naming three strikers in his starting line-up but Grayson’s use of a similar formation limited City to fleeting opportunities before the introduction of winger Albert Adomah on 57 minutes altered the balance of the contest.
Millen said: “You can’t defend like we did for their two goals and expect to get something.
“That was the story of the game – we didn’t defend our 18-yard box well enough on the day. But we certainly created more than enough chances.
“When I saw the Leeds team, I thought it might be a really tight game
and a game of few chances.
“You can talk about shape and all the other things between the two boxes but they’re the two key areas in a football match. We were second best there.”
City’s defeat was their fourth in succession at home, the club’s worst sequence of form at Ashton Gate for almost six years.
Millen said a drop in confidence had been evident among his players once Snodgrass struck with Leeds’ first serious opportunity, but he was adamant that the chances created by City in the second half should have forced a tighter scoreline.
Marvin Elliott came within inches of scoring when his shot hit the crossbar and an instinctive clearance from Luciano Becchio repelled a goalbound shot from David Clarkson in the 68th minute.
“If we score the first goal, certainly at home, then we’re a different team,” Millen said. “But when the opposition score first, it does knock us back a bit.
“We haven’t been great at Ashton Gate and you could see the confidence drain away from the players.
“But to be fair to the lads, we kept going and once I brought Albert (Adomah) on, he livened us up.
“We got a lot of crosses into good areas and I don’t know how we didn’t score.
“You could say they defended for their lives at times and we hit the crossbar but we’ve got to be finishing chances like those.
“The consistency just isn’t there for us yet and you can see that Leeds have got it.
“They’re on a great run and full of confidence. We’re not quite at that level.”
Louis Carey made his 600th appearance for City on Saturday but a broken nose and a head wound completed a forgettable afternoon for the veteran defender.