Peterborough United manager can’t ask any more of his players but admits they are lacking in Championship quality
Posh slipped five points from safety and behind the Rams into 23rd after defeat at Pride Park was sealed by a 92nd minute Louie Sibley goal.
Posh were reduced to 10 men in the first half, when Hayden Coulson was sent off, and battled well but were not able to get themselves back into the game when the numbers were levelled after a poor Tom Lawrence challenge. Ferguson threw on Jonson Clarke-Harris and Ricky-Jade Jones, but the changes failed to yield a single shot on target.
Ferguson said: “It’s a tough one to take, so you can imagine how we’re all feeling after putting so much into a game of football. Sometimes as a manager, all you can ask is for your players to give everything and no one can doubt we did that today. There was a lot of tired legs out there, they had the advantage of not playing Wednesday.
“It was a week that we felt was going to be pivotal to our season and to get only one point from it is very disappointing. They were three games we felt we could win.
“The lack of goals is a huge concern. You look at the way the game went and the amount of shots we had on target and it was nowhere near enough. We’re lacking quality in terms of really getting a foothold in games and there was so much space when the game went to 10 vs 10. All we had to do was keep switching the play but we found it too difficult. We didn’t move quickly enough. We’re not lacking heart, desire and effort, but just pure quality.
“It’s tough for the lads, we haven’t got many players in the whole squad that have played many Championship matches, so it was always going to be tough and so it has proved this season.
“I haven’t seen the goal back, but Steven (Benda) has come in and apologised so maybe he could have done better. He’s hit it quick and it’s just gone across him and gone across the surface quickly.
Posh managed to ride the storm in the final 10 minutes of the first half after being reduced to 10 men but and did so right until stoppage time, although in truth, they created no more chances when the match was 10 vs 10 than 10 vs 11.
Ferguson added: “We spoke at half-time about the formation we would go to and they did if fine. We had to sit in our own half and break in wide areas, but within two minutes it’s 10 vs 10. At that point, I wanted another striker on and we knew Jack wouldn’t last on the surface so we went with real width with Ricky and Wardy, but the problem was we couldn’t get the ball to them.
“It was just about as bad an afternoon as it could have been. We have to assess the game and how we are moving forward and we’ll fix it for Wednesday, but it’s a sore one to take today.
“Not scoring goals is a huge problem as obviously you are not going to win games if you don’t score and it’s very rare for one of my teams to have so many blanks.”
Posh now sit 23rd, level on 21 points with Derby but with a worse goal difference. They slipped to five points adrift of Reading after then won 3-2 at Preston thanks in part to a Lucas Joao double.