By Tony Leighton
Huddersfield Town's new manager Mark Robins has quickly learned what a tough task he faces to revive the fortunes of a team that are in danger of sliding back to npower League 1 after only one season in the Championship.
A 4-1 FA Cup defeat by Premier League team Wigan Athletic on Sunday was bad enough to take in Robins' first game in charge, but Tuesday evening's 6-1 thrashing at Nottingham Forest was a stark eye-opener for the new boss.
"It's the most embarrassed I've been as a manager," said a shell-shocked Robins after a game that left the Terriers with only one win from their last 15 league outings and just one place and two points above the relegation zone.
"I've only had two-and-a-half days to work with the players to try and get across what we need to do," added Robins, "but I can't believe how naive we've been.
"We want to pass the ball, but ultimately you've got to win your battles. It's about working as hard as the opposition, and we didn't do that. It was men against boys - we weren't at the races when we didn't have possession."
Despite his disappointment there was some cause for optimism for Robins, whose side took the lead through on-loan Norwich City striker James Vaughan in what was a very good opening spell for the visitors.
But they crumbled after Forest equalised through midfielder Radoslaw Majewski, who went on to score a first-half hat-trick as the home side ran riot before completing their big victory with ease after the interval.
Robins, looking to take what positives he could out of the heavy defeat, said: "The first 15 minutes was as good as I've seen and as good as the staff that have been here longer than me have seen, so that was encouraging.
"But all of a sudden we seemed to get carried away with ourselves, over-playing and thinking we're better than we are. They're good players when we've got the ball, but we've got to take our chances a bit more often. Having said that, it's a waste of time if you keep giving teams gilt-edged chances.
"There were some good things from us and you try not to over-react to a defeat, but performances have got to be better. My sides are normally well organised and we've got to get on the training ground to get that organisation into them.
"You want to get off to a good start as a manager and that hasn't happened yet. The last 180 minutes have been poor - it's been a baptism of fire for sure.
"But we'll keep searching for that magic formula. The people that have been here a long time have worked their socks off to get out of the league below and it would be an absolute travesty if we were to throw that away.
"We've got 14 games left and we've got to perform better and start picking up points - because we're right in the thick of a relegation battle."
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