OWEN Coyle was left to reflect on a ‘cruel’ 1-0 home loss to high-flying Fulham which left Blackburn Rovers winless and bottom of the Championship going into the international break.

Coyle admitted his side should never have allowed former Rovers favourite Tom Cairney the opportunity to fire in a 94th-minute winner which hauled the Cottagers up to second in the early standings.

But he took heart from what he viewed as an improved performance, particularly defensively, and which he felt should have warranted a share of the spoils.

Rovers boss Coyle, who praised the displays of defensive debutants Derrick Williams and man-of-the-match Tommie Hoban, said: “I’ve been in the game long enough to know it can be a very cruel game.

“We were playing a very good team who are riding high at the top of the league, who are unbeaten who and are full of confidence, but I felt we stood up that.

“We restricted them to very few opportunities and I thought we had one or two chances ourselves. Certainly not as many as we would have liked but they were good ones.

“Our application and effort was there and I thought there was an awful lot to be pleased about and I would have said the same if we’d won the game 1-0 or if it had finished 0-0.

“The disappointment is we’ve lost the goal that decided the game so late on, leaving us with no chance to address it.

“But we have should cleared it before it got to that stage. Eventually Cairney played a pass wide and Gordon Greer has got something on the cross but unfortunately it’s sat up for Cairney. It’s a half-chance but he’s such a wonderful player with a wonderful left foot and he’s planted it in the corner.

“It’s hard to take for the players and the fans because they were great. They got behind the team and really backed the players and created a good atmosphere. That’s who I feel for tonight.”

Coyle is expected to add to his squad before the closure of the transfer window on Wednesday.

And the 50-year-old, who felt both teams could have been awarded penalties, added: “We’re not sat here with smiles on our faces but there has to be an understanding we’ve given a far better performances than we have previously.

“I felt it was better than when we felt we should have beaten Burton Albion last week. I felt we looked more secure, solid defensively, and that will always give you a platform to win games.

“There are positives but the big disappointment for everybody is we got no points. Even as late on as it was, we’ve got to clear our lines better.

“But there was a lot to be pleased about and that’s what we’ve got to take moving forward.”