Former Portsmouth, Blackpool and Oxford boss Michael Appleton's shock confession after Lincoln's defeat at Gillingham
Michael Appleton didn’t hold back in his assessment of Lincoln’s 1-0 defeat at Gillingham on Saturday.
Disappointed by what he had seen from his side at Priestfield, the former Pompey, Blackpool, Blackburn and Oxford boss admitted it was ‘by far the worst performance’ he’d witnessed from any side he’d managed.
The Imps, who are now five games without a League One win, lost following Mikael Mandron’s 24th-minute strike for the hosts.
They had the chance to move above Pompey in table, with Appleton’s side currently three points adrift of Kenny Jackett’s 13th-placed outfit in the standings.
Instead, it was the Gills who moved level with the Blues, although below them in 14th position on goal difference, following their fourth league home win of the season.
Appleton – who was in charge of Pompey at a time when the club's owner was arrested, when the Blues went into administration, when relegation from the Championship was confirmed in 2012, and when his entire squad moved on – said he couldn’t defend Lincoln’s performance in Kent.
And he stressed it was a display he hoped he would never see again.
Appleton told Lincolnshire Live: ‘I had to get out of the dressing room (after the game) pretty quickly to be honest.
‘I am angry. You’ve got to stay professional and I’m trying to do that, but I’m finding it difficult at the moment.
‘That’s by far the worst performance I’ve seen from a team I’ve managed. I hope it’s a one-off that we never see again.
‘We were so bad in every area and second best to everything.
‘There are no excuses, there’s no point me coming out here trying to defend what we’ve just watched, so I’m not going to. I can’t defend them in any way, shape or form.’
Rochdale warmed up for their game against Pompey next week with a 2-1 defeat at Coventry, who moved up to third in the table.
The Dale slipped to 16th following a fourth-straight league loss.
However, manager Brian Barry-Murphy was pleased with what he saw from his team.
He told the club’s website: I was very pleased with a lot of aspects of that performance and I thought the lads implemented the game plan to a tee for large parts of the game – my judgement won’t be clouded by two pieces of quality from Coventry..
‘I thought we controlled a Coventry team that play a possession-based game but we created chance after chance in the first half and the only problem was we didn’t take them.
‘We can take a lot away from the performance.’
Other results: Blackpool 2-0 Wimbledon, Bolton 1-0 MK Dons, Rotherham 1-0 Accrington.