Danny Higginbotham admitted Sheffield United’s players were guilty of letting Chris Morgan and David Unsworth down following defeat by relegated Portsmouth.
The 3-0 scoreline, which extinguished the visitors’ automatic promotion hopes, marked Morgan’s first loss since being appointed manager .
Absolving the former centre-half and his assistant Unsworth of responsibility for United’s disappointing display, Higginbotham told The Star: “It’s very important to be honest. You’ll never meet two more honest fellas than the two we have in charge. If you aren’t honest then you’ll never address anything.
“As players, those two gave absolutely everything and they want the team to mirror that. They’re great blokes and they’re disappointed. We are disappointed. Now it’s up to us.”
United enter tomorrow’s re-arranged fixture at Crewe sixth in League One and Higginbotham, the former Stoke defender, added: “Sometimes you need a reminder or a kick-up the backside.“
“In the long-run this could be the thing that makes us appreciate what it’s all about. We don’t want this feeling again. We must hit the play-offs in confident frame of mind.”
United, who are guaranteed a top six finish, conceded three goals in 11 first-half minutes against opponents destined for League Two but celebrating their takeover by a supporters’ trust and exit from administration.
Morgan, acknowledging “some home truths were spoken” said: “However long I do this job, whether it be three games, five games or into next season, I want a team that represents me.
“In the first half that team didn’t represent me and they didn’t represent themselves. They are much better than that. It was out of character because we’ve shown what we can do against some of the top sides in this division. There aren’t going to be any knee-jerk reactions as we have got a good group. But that was a reminder you’ve got to earn the right.”