John Sheridan lambasted Chesterfield’s performance in today’s FA Trophy defeat by Brackley, who he showered with praise.
The manager said he hadn’t given his players a rollicking because he’s trying desperately to keep them positive ahead of a difficult relegation battle.
But he didn’t mince his words about the way they played in the 2-0 loss.
“No where near good enough,” he said.
“It wasn’t the performance I expected from us.
“We were poor. I could talk all day. I could have been in the dressing room all day.
“I’m not hiding, no excuses.
“Difficult for the supporters watching a game like that. It’s probably been going on this season.
“My aim is to keep us up. I’ve got to concentrate on that. It’s a difficult job.
“That performance won’t keep us up.”
Sheridan felt Brackley, who lifted the FA Trophy last season, were well worth their place in the next round.
“I’ve got to credit the opposition, they were on the front foot, wanted it more than us, ran harder than us, deserved the victory.
“We huffed and puffed, they made it difficult.
“They’re a part time side who looked fitter than us, sharper than us.”
The Town manager was particularly impressed with Brackley frontman Lee Ndlovu, who scored a goal and proved a handful for home defenders all afternoon.
It didn’t come as a surprise to the Chesterfield coaching staff.
“He was a right handful,” said Sheridan.
“He bullied our centre-halves all day. We showed them video. He wants you to get in a fight, we got into a fight and we lost. We got caught up in it.
“He came out the winner.”
With a ‘massive opportunity’ to get to Wembley spurned, Sheridan’s hope is that Town will bounce back quickly, with a vital National League game against Halifax next week.
Their precarious league position is clearly playing a part in his demeanour when dealing with his squad.
But that won’t last forever, he admits.
“There’s a lot of hard work, I’ve got work on my hands, I knew that when I was coming in. I’m going to face it,” he said.
“We’ve got to hopefully bounce back.
“Some of the players in there know how I am. I’m still quite quiet on the sideline, I’m still looking at players.
“I don’t think it’s a time to give rollickings and have a go. I want them to be on my side.
“I haven’t gone too over the top with them, I don’t think it’s the right thing to do at this stage.
“I would have let rip.
“One or two of them would have found out what I was really like.
“I’ve got to try and lift them and keep their spirits, keep them focused on the league programme.
“We’re in a fight. We need to try and sort this performance out.
“I’ve got to get them as positive as I can.
“The mentality of how I manage them will be changing once we get this season out of the way.”
Chesterfield were unable to play loan striker Jack McKay, whose registration didn’t go through in time to allow him to play.
He’s likely to feature in a behind closed doors game this week, as will Laurence Maguire and Charlie Carter.
That will be Sheridan’s first look at the young pair since his arrival.
He’s got a good idea about other Spireites already, though.
“I’ve looked at them (the players). I’m starting to see things and find out a few things about different individuals.
“I haven’t come here to fail. I’ve come here to succeed.
“People will get used to me and the way I work, what type of players I want, how I want us to play.”