David Flitcroft declared Mansfield Town’s second showing ‘unacceptable’ in today’s nightmare 2-0 defeat at struggling Forest Green Rovers.
Stags lost ground on the top three after a tame surrender to two second half goals at the New Lawn where they also lost top scorer Danny Rose to injury and skipper Krystian Pearce to a red card for two bookable offences.
Flitcroft said: “I was disappointed for our supporters. Supporters came down in numbers today and that second half was unacceptable.
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“When the goal went in I could see the energy sap from the players. I’ve not seen that before while I’ve been here.
“Disappointing is probably not a strong enough word to use.
“I thought first half we huffed and puffed and had some decent sort of forward play and link-up play. Our movement was good.
“But once we got in the last third we didn’t really lay a glove on them. We didn’t make enough impact on them and didn’t get enough shots on target to really hurt them.”
He added: “I never felt threatened in the first half by Forest Green.
“We asked the players to show more urgency in the second half and play with more of a purpose and it just didn’t transpire.
“Reid and Campbell dominated us all afternoon.
“We said before the game it was an academy keeper in goal and we need to get shots in and be aggressive with out crosses. But they were floated in.” The manager was particularly unhappy with the second 45 minutes, saying: “The second half is nothing I believe in as a person.
“That energy and desire not to be beaten is something I will instil in this group 100 per cent.”
On the Rose injury, he said: “It was a blow to see Danny come off as he was fundamental to the 4-3-3 we’d worked on.
“It is potential ligament damage. He has rocked it. His foot stayed in the turf and gone over.
“Hopefully the weight of force won’t have made the injury severe. “We will let it settle down tomorrow and get an early assessment done on it.”
Stags now face a huge Easter with games against top two sides Accrington and Luton and Flitcroft said: “We now have to regroup and make sure all the squad are on the same page.
“We have to galvanise that spirit and make sure that they know the task they are in for.
“The players can only achieve if we are together and I will make sure we are.”