Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett has called on his players to stand up and be counted.
He says ge does not believe the Pools squad are being brave enough in games.
And Hignett has suggested his players are just too “nice” and as a result are paying the price, which was proven in the weekend League Two loss at Wycombe Wanderers.
“We have got to be braver and we have got to be tougher,” said Hignett in a frank and honest interview after watching his side put in a well-below- par show down south.
“We are a nice side. There is nothing wrong with that in many ways.
“But when teams decide to step on us we have to be brave and we have to be good on the ball.
“On Saturday, we didn’t do that.
“We know this is an area we have to improve.”
It was not only in the bravery stakes that Hignett believes Pools need to improve.
For every time his side have proven they can outclass teams in periods of games, there are period where they let all of their good work go to waste.
Saturday showed that for all of the quality Pools have in terms of personnel, results are not a given, especially not when Hignett’s men are so wasteful in possession.
Hignett explained: “I know our passing is better than that.
“It is strange because I see it all day in training. Then it comes to a game and we cannot reproduce it.
“On the whole the quality was disappointing.
“We didn’t look good going forward. We didn’t really create many chances.
“I know the quality is there to do much more than we showed on Saturday.”
“I think we just let the game drift.
“We were better in the second half, even though we didn’t really create anything or look like creating anything.
“We have some talented players but we had an off day. There is absolutely no doubt about that.”
Things could have been so different had Lewis Alessandra managed to get a touch on an inviting James Martin centre just minutes into the encounter.
Pools boss Hignett thinks a strike so early might well have set the tone for the day.
“After the start we made I did think it was going to be a good day,” he said.
“Lewis Alessandra missed his kick at the near post. If he’d managed to put that away then it could have set the tone for the day. But it wasn’t to be.”
Wycombe: Blackman, Harriman, Stewart, Pierre, Jacobson, Bloomfield (Bean 82), O’Nien, Gape, Kashket, Akinfenwa (Thompson 82), Hayes (Wood 73). Subs not used: Jombati, Richardson, Freeman, De Havilland. Goals: Kashket 23, 80.
Hartlepool Utd: Carson, Nsiala, Bates, Harrison, Hawkins (Woods 63), Featherstone, Laurent, Martin, Alessandra (Oates 85), Amond, Deverdics (Paynter 67). Subs not used: Carroll, Jones, Bartlett, Richards. Booked: Harrison.
Att: 3,288. Ref: Kevin Johnson (Somerset).