Simon Grayson reads the riot act to Blackpool players after New Year's Day defeat to Rotherham

Simon Grayson can't hide his disappointment
Simon Grayson can't hide his disappointment
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Simon Grayson has sent a stark warning to his Blackpool squad after the Seasiders slumped to a 2-1 New Year's Day defeat at Rotherham United.

READ MORE: The Gazette's match report from Blackpool's New Year's Day defeat to Rotherham United

Dan Barlaser's late free-kick condemned Pool to a third defeat from their last four games to cap off a miserable festive period for Grayson's men.

The Millers had earlier taken the lead through Michael Smith's effort only to be pegged back by an Armand Gnanduillet header, the striker's 14th goal of the campaign.

After a sluggish first-half display, Grayson rang the changes at half-time by making a double change - bringing Curtis Tilt and Joe Nuttall on for Jordan Thompson and Sullay Kaikai and reverting to three at the back.

It did result in improvements, but not enough to secure Pool a much-needed result.

“We weren’t competitive enough. We were being dominated off the ball, they bullied us and ran it over the top," Grayson said.

“We had to do something different. We did contemplate playing three at the back anyway before the game but we thought we could hurt them in certain areas by having the likes of Jordan Thompson passing it and Sullay Kaikai.

“Ultimately we decided the best thing to do was to change it around and I thought we were a lot better in the second half.

“We got into a battle with them, we competed and asked questions of them. But again it was just a lack of quality in certain areas of the pitch."

Pool squandered chances to edge their noses in front in the second half, substitute Joe Nuttall in particular guilty of squandering a priceless opportunity when he failed to hit the target from 10 yards.

“We broke at times but we just didn’t have the right pass, execution or ruthlessness of what we wanted to do," Grayson added.

“We are still working with a group that finished 10th last year and we are still trying to get players in that are going to make this club better with a stronger mentality and to maybe play in a different style of football.

“That doesn’t happen overnight and we have to make sure those that are here, they’ve got to make sure they affect it more.

“If they’ve got ideas of wanting to leave the club then we’ll replace them and move on.

“The ones that are here already and think they’re safe in their positions, this window they might have an opportunity to see things differently.

“It’s a reminder to one or two of the players in the dressing room that if they don’t buck up their ideas, they won’t be part of this journey.”

The Seasiders were left to rue decisions from the officials once again as they were frustrated by a number of bizarre calls.

The referee penalised Jay Spearing for the foul that led to Dan Barlaser's 85th-minute winner, a decision that looked incredibly soft.

“It was frustrating at times," Grayson said.

“I’ve looked at the free kick and Jay has probably nudged him but the ball has gone through to Mark Howard, so the player was getting nowhere near it.

“When things aren’t quite going your way those type of decisions do go against you and the lad puts it right in the top corner.

“It was on Mark’s side which was a little disappointing although I’m not blaming him totally, because it’s a great free kick.

“But when things aren’t quite going your way you tend to find a lot of your decisions don’t go in your favour and you get punished for them.”