Brian McDermott rubbished the idea that Leeds’ injury list was to blame after his side’s defeat to Widnes.
The Rhinos were under-strength and went down 23-6 to the Vikings, who themselves had key players missing.
But McDermott, whose side were unbeaten in Super League action before this game, insisted his side show have performed better.
“I reckon it would be flippant of me to not recognise the injuries, but we had some players who’ve played enough games out there,” said McDermott.
“Widnes had some players missing too, but we had enough experience and it was a disappointing loss.
“Widnes, with the greatest of respect, don’t spend much money on the squad and are used to being the battles, we ended up playing a version of the game that suited them. We found ourselves with enough momentum and field possession to beat Widnes.
“I just said to the players that I cut the game and show some really good stuff. We ran courageously and broke tackles at times, but I can’t cut too much where it was really well-executed skill.”
Ryan Hall missed the match with a bout of tonsillitis, which will also keep him out of Friday’s game against Catalans, while Briscoe is also a doubt for that game after a back problem.
McDermott admits he is unlikely to have many of his injured players returning.
“I don’t know the extent of Tom’s sciatic problem yet,” he said.
“The doctors have said that Ryan Hall’s tonsillitis is a two-week job, but maybe Tom could be available. Joel Moon shouldn’t have played last week, and he wouldn’t have played had it not been a World Club Challenge game.”