MIDDLESBROUGH’S Nicky Bailey called on his team-mates to cut the sloppy defending following their 3-0 hammering at home to Queens Park Rangers.
Two goals from Heidar Helguson and a penalty from Adel Taarabt condemned Boro to defeat and kept the pressure on in their battle to beat the drop.
The Teessiders were punished for not taking their chances.
Boro’s stand-in skipper knows full well that when you are playing against a team top of the league, you have to be in top form in all areas of the park.
Bailey said: “It was very disappointing. We had a good early chance and if we had stuck that away it might have been different.
“We gave away too many sloppy goals away. They are not top for no reason.
“It is something we have to work on as a team.
“You cannot blame individuals, we were not good enough today.
“To lose 3-0 at home the way we have been going, that is our biggest defeat for a long time now.
“It is disappointing, but we have another game against Nottingham Forest and hopefully we can come out and put in a better display.
“Forest are battling to get automatic promotion and we are still battling to stay in the league. We have to put this display out of our minds if we can and get back to our performance levels we have shown lately.
“We are going to have to wipe it from our minds. The results went for us, but we cannot rely on others all the time – it is not a nice feeling to lose like this.”
Bailey added: “It does not matter whether I am captain, I am going to go out there and do my best whatever.
“There is a bit of extra responsibility, but I am happy to take that.
“We have to remain positive and stick together.
“The quicker we can get out of it the quicker that we can start looking forward to next season. It is just the way we have been going all season.
“We have not been able to get momentum all season, but we have not lost like that for a little while.
“It just didn’t happen for us and they got their goals to kill us off and we could not find anything to get us going.
“QPR know how to win games – they had a few good attacking players and they capitalised.
“It is OK when you win a few games but we have not been winning enough.
“We are not going on long enough runs where we go on five or six in a row – and if you want to do well in this league you have to do that.”