BOSS Richard Agar admitted his team took a backwards step when they were beaten 32-16 by a Danny McGuire-inspired Hull KR last night.
A win would have lifted Rhinos four points clear of danger, but they are instead among a quartet of teams fighting it out at the foot of Super League.
Rovers were the only team in the bottom four to win, but Leeds dropped a place to 10th on for and against.
Rhinos’ fate is still in their own hands – and five of their final seven games are at home – but Agar admitted: “We were beaten by a better team.”
Leeds were 14-0 down at the end of the first quarter and Agar reflected: “Our start was poor. Some traits we’ve been pretty good at recently were missing from our game. Our first 20 minutes hurt us and the first 10 minutes of the second were like a carbon copy.”
Leeds were torn apart in defence early on and made errors when they began to get a share of the ball.
We didn’t turn up when we needed to defensively and Not working together defensively really hurt us.Richard Agar
“We were frantic in good ball and even when we started to get possession on their line we came up with early-play errors,” Agar added.
“We didn’t turn up when we needed to defensively and Not working together defensively really hurt us.”
Rovers’ former Leeds coach Tony Smith was delighted with his side’s response after a heavy defeat at Wigan Warriors last week.
“A good start was important for us,” he said. “I liked the way we started the game and the way we played with the ball.
“We had to play some rugby to win and we came here and did that.”