Micciche's misplaced anger will tell more tales than his well-made point
When managers begin attacking members of their own fanbase in the press, it is usually the final signs of fight from a man on his way out. But while Dan Micciche rightly apologised after his comments on Saturday, his primary gripe wasn't with those he criticised most.
The Dons boss fumed at news of injury to his number one Lee Nicholls broke on social media among fans, giving a Doncaster a sneak-peak at the team sheet before even boarding the bus for MK1. Slamming 'so-called supporters' for publicising the blow, he felt Rovers came with an advantage en route to a 2-1 victory, but his problems were fundamentally at the other end of the pitch - not with those behind the goal, but his players in front of it.
"You can't need 17 shots to score one goal," he said afterwards, a comment lost in the wind after his rant at the supporters.
Peter Pawlett, Ike Ugbo, Chuks Aneke and Marcus Tavernier were all guilty of missing chances which would have either put Dons high and dry, or at least earned them a point at the full-time whistle. As it transpired, their wasted chances would see Dons fall four points adrift of League 1 safety, almost calling for snookers with three weeks left to play.
After refusing to call-out his players following the 5-1 thumping at the hands of Wigan a week earlier, Micciche wasn't likely to do it after a one-goal margin of defeat to Rovers, but that's where his frustration lay. He watched his side miss chance after chance, enough to win the game three or four times over but come away pointless, mounting pressure on him as League 2 looms ever larger.
While taking his players to task over missing 16 chances is exactly what should have come from the interview, his out-burst at the fans though is what he will be judged on. Memories are long in football - you only had to hear some of the chants aimed at Doncaster manager Darren Ferguson and his 2007 arrest to bear witness to that. A hasty apology 24 hours later from Micciche will go some way to appeasing those already in his camp, but those questioning his leadership, spending their money to watch Dons home or away won't take kindly to having their loyalties questions for talking about something which became common knowledge on social media.
In the same way fans clamour for transfer gossip from inside the club and it inevitably escapes, news of Nicholls' injury was bound to break and spread across social media - that's the modern game, and indeed the way news can spread all over the world with the click of a button. To expect fans to do the job of playing along when information leaks out from inside the club is an unrealistic and something Micciche now knows to his detriment.
If the idea was to take the blame off the players for their performance in front of goal against Doncaster though, it worked perfectly.