RONNIE Moore has demanded his Hartlepool United players start showing as much passion on the pitch as his staff do off it.
Defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday has left Pools teetering on the brink, seven points from safety with just 12 games now remaining.
The away form is the reason we are in this messRonnie Moore
It left Moore gutted, but he believes a couple of the players are not hurt enough by Pools’ current plight.
In an unusual step, he kept the players inside the dressing room for a good half hour at Dagenham following the 2-0 loss.
But the 62-year-old admitted he is “fed up” of ranting at his side, admitting it is a fine balancing act to get the best out of the players.
Moore has now called on them to show more passion – just like his backroom staff, including assistant Sam Collins, head physio Ian Gallagher and kitman Martyn Brown.
“The players have to give us more, more desire,” Moore told SportMail.
“I said to them afterwards, ‘do you think that was a performance of a team fighting for their lives?’
“I didn’t think it was.
“The staff have that, but I don’t think it hurts one or two of the players.
“I have told them that, but I won’t name who they are but I am not happy with it. The supporters certainly let them know it though.
“I am getting fed up ranting and raving, to be honest, and you do have to be careful how you balance it – as much as you want to grab one or two of them by the throat.
“The staff have the passion, we have Buster [Gallagher], who is a supporter, Marty the kitman, and we all want to see more from the players.
“Give us some hope and desire and don’t let people down.”
Pools had travelled to East London looking to secure their first back-to-back wins since February last year.
Yet a Scott Harrison own goal and a sublime free-kick from Billy Bingham sealed Pools’ fate and another defeat on the road.
With just two away wins all campaign, Pools also haven’t managed to keep a clean sheet in 22 away league matches - a key reason why Pools prop up the rest of the Football League.
“The away form is the reason we are in this mess,” added Moore.
“We have won four out of five at home but haven’t been getting anything away from home.
“Even if we had picked up something then it would have helped, that is what you need and we have some really tough away games coming up against teams in and around where we are.
“We have to improve it.
“We started well at Dagenham yet the players then switched off and that is another reason we are where we are - the players are not mentally strong enough.
“They are capable of it but it is a mental thing and keeping a clean sheet is a big thing.
“We have to stay in the game as it may be the last minute and we pinch it.”
Pools are at home next - to promotion chasing Burton Albion on Saturday.