Hartlepool United can survive then prosper – providing they follow the Dave Jones method.
That was the message of the manager as he looked ahead to the last six matches of the League Two season – and beyond.
Jones pointed no fingers and named no names after the 2-0 weekend home defeat to Portsmouth which moved Pools one place closer to the dreaded relegation zone.
Newport County won to move within five points of Pools.
But the boss, who has only been in charge for 73 days, was unhappy that, as he called it “one or two players” deviated from the Jones script.
“I’ve said to the players if they believe in what we are doing and jump on the wagon and come for the ride, then this club grow and grow and will go places,” he said.
“But they have to trust and believe in what we are saying.
“It’s been successful where I’ve been before, so I’m going to be successful here.
“Stop fighting it. Listen to what’s being said and do it.
“If they do it and it fails then it’s our fault [the coaching staff].
“If they do their own things in certain parts of the game then it fails.
“There was one or two who thought they would do what they wanted to do and that’s not what it’s all about.”
Jones admits some of the mistakes come from “naivety” and is not questioning the work-rate of the players, who says are “trying”.
However, he explained that the squad must follow the structures and orders laid down by himself and coaches Kevin Cooper and Alex Armstrong.
“We sometimes put ourselves in danger, a bit of naivety, a bit of youth,” said Jones.
“It’s hard to knock them and I’m not knocking the players, but what I can knock is they have to trust in what we are saying.”
Pools matched Portsmouth for long periods in an entertaining spectacle until Pompey had established a two-goal cushion.
Kal Naismith’s opener came after he was afforded too much room in the box and he set up the second goal for Gary Roberts after Pools had given the ball away inside their own half.
The result cemented Paul Cook’s side in third place but dropped Pools to third-bottom, just five points above the safety line.
“The scoreline says 2-0, but they weren’t better than us in certain areas,” said Jones.
“Talking Cooky afterwards, he said for 15 minutes before and after half-time they couldn’t get the ball.
“So what do we do when we are on top?
“We commit suicide in the middle of the pitch and then the ball is in the back of our net. Why?
“Why when we are on top does somebody want to change the plan?
“Why does someone want to do something different to what they have been doing?
“You think to yourself ‘why have you done that’?”
He added: “We were beaten by a good, strong Portsmouth side.
“We started well, but caused our own downfall by doing things we’re trying to eradicate from our game.”
Hartlepool Utd: Fryer, Donnelly (Magnay 90), Walker, Harrison, Deverdics, Woods, Featherstone, Alessandra, Oates (Rodney 75), Amond, Thomas. Subs not used: Bates, Hawkins, Rooney, Dudzinski, Richardson. Booked: Alessandra.
Portsmouth: Forde, Evans, Burgess, Clarke, Stevens, Rose, M Doyle, Bennett, Lowe (Chaplin 80), Naismith (Kabamba 90), Hunt (Roberts 45). Subs not used: O’Brien, Whatmough, Linganzi, Talbot. Booked: Rose. Goals: Naismith 17, Roberts 60
Att: 4,500. Ref: Mark Brown (East Yorkshire).