New Belper Town boss Aaron Webster has told his players to be men and not feel sorry for themselves after an awful Bank Holiday weekend.
Webster, appointed less than a month ago, admitted that the 8-1 thrashing at Lincoln United on Saturday, followed by a 2-0 home loss to Gresley on Monday, were the sort of displays that could cost a manager his job if had been at the club longer.
Now he is calling on his squad to put things right at home to strugglers Market Drayton Town this Saturday while scouring the market for new faces to improve things.
“It was an awful weekend,” admitted Webster. “There were not many positives to take from those two games, but one positive was the two performances have told me a big story on the team and certain individuals.
“That’s something for me to look at going forward.
“Luckily there is kind of no pressure on me at the moment as those two games were probably sackable.
“They were the sort of performances that get managers the sack – that’s probably another positive as I am only four weeks into the job and it’s not necessarily my team.
“But there are going to have to be changes if performances like that carry on.
“We probably have guys who are feeling a bit sorry for themselves because of the results. But there’s no time for that as games just pass you by and results go against you. We can’t dwell on what has gone.
“This is where we have to be men and get out of it – whatever it takes. We need to work harder and take more responsibility with and without the ball.”
He added: “When I first came in I told them all everyone started with a clean slate and everyone has a chance to impress. They weren’t doing too badly under the caretaker.
“I just wanted everyone to start afresh, have a nice buzz, and have a good feel around the place with a new manager.
“But Christmas games came thick and fast with so many games in not many days and it probably hasn’t helped with the size of the squad.
“Also we are only training once a week and I am trying to get mine and Lee’s (assistant Williamson) points across how we want to do things.
“Some of the players have played all three games and you could tell that yesterday. But that is state of football at this level with players working in between. It’s the same for every team so there are no excuses.”
There could be a new faces by the weekend.
“I have made phone calls trying to get one or two in,” he said.
“If it doesn’t happen we will have to go with the same squad and shuffle it round a bit.
“They’ll have had a few days rest and another training session on Thursday night.
“We had Monday’s game two days later to get the 8-1 defeat out of our systems and redeem ourselves – but it just didn’t happen.
“You can’t start games like that and expect to still be in the game when it comes to the second half.
“It’s something I keep emphasising – starting the games quickly and aggressively which sets the tone. But we’ve not done it in any of the last three games.
“The game can be lost by half-time and on Monday that was the case.
“In the first half there were fewer options when we were on the ball. We showed a lack of responsibility and bravery. It was fear and nerves. We looked scared.
“In the second half, with the game lost, all of a sudden we have six or seven options when in possession – that told a big story.”
Webster was shocked by the size of the defeat at Lincoln in a game in which the Nailers even went ahead.
He said: “I am still trying to figure where that came from.
“It was unbelievable really. I don’t think I’ve been involved in an 8-1 game since I played kids football.
“It looked like men versus boys. If only two or three are listening to the instructions I gave to the players before the game and the other seven or eight aren’t then we’re going to have no chance getting any form of result.
“In saying that we took a 1-0 lead after not starting very well.”
He added: “We don’t seem to have an identity to the team at the moment – you can’t say we are a long ball, passing or counter-attacking team.
“A lot of players aren’t listening to what I am saying at the minute and so changes will be made.”
On next opponents Market Drayton, Webster said: “They are not in the greatest run of form, so it could be another topsy-turvy game if we play like we have done in the last two games. Anything could happen after those.
“We are too hit and miss and that’s probably why Belper are where they are in the table.
“They have the potential to be a lot higher but they are not because you never know which Belper is going to turn up.
“As a manager and a coach, my team can’t be like that. They have to be very consistent, hard to beat, and looking to create chances to score.
“In the long term that’s what we are going to be. At the minute it’s just not happening.
“It’s just so disappointing after we were so solid at Sheffield. We looked good on the break and soaked up a lot of pressure – it was a good away performance.
“Then you go away again a few days after, set up the same with the same players and it’s a totally different performance. It’s baffling.”