Salford Red Devils coach Paul Rowley felt encouraged by his side’s improved performance as they fell short to a 16-14 defeat to Leeds Rhinos.
The Red Devils were 12-4 behind at the break before they fought back in the second half to lead 14-12.
However, the Rhinos regained their lead and held their nerve to secure the two points at the Salford Stadium.
Speaking after the game, Rowley said: “I thought we took some big steps forward.
“It was a good game. Leeds are a team we respect for the way they try to play the game and I think that’s mutual, I think Rohan (Smith) pointed that out in the week.
“It was a hard loss to take in many respects because I thought we took some big steps forward.
“At half-time I thought we were the masters of our own downfall, too many balls down to floor but probably unforced as well so we could have done better there.
“In the second half I thought we lacked some composure at crucial stages, so that’s the analysis of the two halves for us.
“Without accepting mediocrity to the group, this sport doesn’t allow you a hard week and an easy week.
“It’s just tough every single week so the answer to everything is just work harder and we’ve got a group that will do so we’ll rock up next week with a good attitude and a smile on our face as always and prepare to work harder.”
Salford Red Devils boss praises Tim Lafai: ‘Probably his best performance of the season’
Samoa international Tim Lafai bagged a brace in Salford’s defeat as well as coming up with several big attacking plays to get his side in good ball territory throughout the match.
“Probably his best performance of the season,” Rowley said of Lafai.
“He’s found a bit of form there, him and Joe Burgess. I thought they stepped up some gears and that’s what they need to do.
“I think he came up with a couple of errors Tim so he needs to get that out of his game and do more of the good stuff he’s doing.
“Like I said, that’s probably a good reflection on the team as a whole – a lot of good stuff but a lot of unforced errors in there that we can control and that’s controlling the controllables from our perspective.”
Paul Rowley points out the positives
Rowley found plenty of positives in their defeat to Leeds, like ‘finding the DNA’ that has saw them enjoy success in recent times.
After a fourth straight loss, Rowley said he was confident that his side will regroup ahead of next Sunday’s match against Leigh.
“Finding our DNA a little bit, I thought we’d gone off that (in the last few weeks),” Rowley said when asked about the positives from the Leeds defeat.
“Sometimes you can doubt yourself in trying to play a different way or a bit tougher or a bit safe, you can start playing within yourself and I thought we started to ask a lot more questions.
“We started to look a lot like our old self, particularly early on but I probably thought we’ve tried a bit too hard in trying to find it… So it’s something we’ve recognised and spoken about and tried a bit too hard so our execution was a little bit off at times when opportunities presented themselves.
“But the way you get better is by repetition, so if we continue to display our DNA and what our point of difference is, then we’ll get repetition in those situations and get better in future.”
The Red Devils welcome Leigh Leopards to the Salford Stadium next Sunday, 3pm kick-off.