Nottingham Forest manager Dougie Freedman pulled no punches in his assessment of the start his team made against Bristol City tonight.
The Reds found themselves 2-0 down inside 11 minutes
, enough to consign them to defeat at Ashton Gate.
And, while he acknowledges the unavailability of several key players took its toll, Freedman was disappointed with what he saw in the early exchanges.
Speaking after the match, he said: “We were disappointed with how we performed in the first 15-20 minutes, defending and attacking. They put us under a lot of pressure and started very quickly.
“I felt later on in the second half we calmed down a little bit, moved the ball a lot better and kept on going. Unfortunately tonight - it’s not excuses, it’s fact - we are missing too many bodies at senior level.
“The facts are simple: we lost the game in the first 20 minutes and we’re missing too many players at the moment to cope with that.”
Next week presents Forest with two home matches and an opportunity to improve on a recent poor run of results at The City Ground.
Freedman said: “That’s what we’ve got to change.
“Our home performances have been very good and we’re creating opportunities. It will be a big test for us against Burnley and Ipswich but it gives us an opportunity to get back to winning ways.
“The players right now have to stick together and make sure our starts are better. It’s as simple as that.”