Sheffield United Women’s manager Carla Ward said her side’s 2-0 defeat at Charlton Athletic was a ‘reality check’ for some of her players.
Goals either side of the break from Amber Stobbs and Charley Clifford sealed the points for Riteesh Mishra’s side whilst the Blades saw Sam Tierney sent off in the second half for two bookable offences.
United have lost three out of four in the FA Women’s Championship.
Ward said: "We were just really poor. We haven’t competed. Charlton are a direct team and as we’ve seen this season we struggle against direct teams.
"We’ll get the team back in on Tuesday and players know now they’re fighting for shirts.
“I think some of them have done enough and some of them need a reality check.
“Some of these girls have played internationally and some have played in the FAWSL but it counts for nothing if you don’t perform. It’s a tough one to take.
“We’ll have a look at Palace this week,” she added.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do for next week and I think some players need a reality check.”
Ward’s side had edged the opening 20 minutes, Sophie Jones on the stretch put Jade Pennock’s cross well over and Ellie Fletcher headed Beth Merrick’s free-kick wide.
Kit Graham was causing all the issues at the other end, however, the forward denied twice by Alex Brooks before Stobbs put Charlton ahead.
A cross from the left by Graham saw Stobbs scuff her first effort before rolling the ball just over the line before Brooks could clear.
United got a foothold in the game at the start of the second half with Jones testing Startup before Merrick prodded a lobbed effort over.
Striker Jodie Michalska made her first appearance for nearly two years as United looked for a way back in, but their task was made even tougher when Tierney received a second yellow with 20 minutes to go.
Charlton punished them straight away and in spectacular style, Clifford receiving the ball on the right and curling a brilliant effort into the far corner.
United did have chances to get back into it - Michalska saw a header saved by Startup before the goalkeeper did brilliantly to deny Dixon and then Michalska again on the rebound.