Doncaster manager Brian Flynn locked his players in the dressing room for over half-an-hour following their 3-0 defeat at MK Dons, then admitted: "It could have been heavier."
Izale McLeod's first goal since rejoining the Dons and superb half-volleys from Daniel Powell and substitute Stephen Gleeson sealed a first win in nine games for Karl Robinson's men. And Flynn was grateful his overnight leaders escaped with only a three-goal defeat at stadium:mk after a dismal display by Rovers.
He said: "We lost to the better team. On the night they were better than us, the way they controlled the ball, their movement was always a problem for us and we just didn't deal with it all night.
"It was a really harsh lesson for us. We should have retained possession better, that's for certain - we didn't do that from the first minute to the last so that was a dangerous sign coming through.
"When you have so many players having an off-day it's not going to work for you, that's for certain. We struggled defensively - they've hit the post twice and they've had other chances. It could have been a heavier defeat.
"I think it was an all-round particularly bad night for us. There were no harsh words in the dressing room, just honest words - that's the key to it. If there's a small crumb of comfort it's that we're still top of the league and if you look at the recent month we've been five games undefeated."
McLeod put the Dons ahead in the 40th minute when he slotted in the rebound after Ryan Lowe's fierce shot had been parried by Rovers goalkeeper Gary Woods. Powell celebrated his new two-year contract by doubling the Dons' lead in the 56th minute, swivelling to fire a stunning left-footed half-volley into the top corner from the edge of the box.
And Gleeson marked his return from a three-month injury lay-off by scoring with his first touch seven minutes from the end, blasting home McLeod's knock-down.
Dons manager Robinson said: "It was a night when everything came together, but it was a frustrating night as well because that was us at our best, and we've not seen it often enough. The reasons for that are suspensions and injuries, but here I've been able to put the full attacking four out that I wanted to put out at the start of the season.
"But still we were without an awful lot of players and the players just put a wonderful performance in. I thought the place was rocking. It could be the catalyst for bigger and better things."