KENNY Jackett slammed Millwall's first-half display in their 3-1 defeat to Middlesbrough as one of their worst of the season.
A 38-minute brace from Boro striker Marvin Emnes left the Lions facing a huge uphill task in what Jackett had described beforehand as a crucial game in the club's fight against relegation.
And despite an improved showing after the break, owing largely to the introduction of both Alan Dunne and Jimmy Abdou at half-time, the Millwall boss was left to rue a dismal opening 45 minutes.
He told the club's official website: "We looked stronger [when the substitutes came on]. We weren't as easy to bully or push around. But we didn't do that in the first half and that's down to me as the manager.
"Our first-half performance was poor. We didn't do enough and we were deservedly behind. The left side of our defence struggled physically – we didn't win a header and they looked like scoring at every set-piece. We didn't compete and looked second-best."
Jackett was particularly critical of his defence, who conceded three goals in a match for the fifth time this season.
"We gave away two very poor goals," he said. "Both Curtis Main and Emnes have skipped past us – we've sold ourselves. We have to be better than that defensively.
"We need a back four that can sustain us and keep us in games. While we're trying to play football, I thought tonight we overplayed and didn't compete physically. We didn't strike a balance between good football and physicality.
"There was some spirit in the second-half and a bit of a fightback, but we have to eradicate sloppy goals."