Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, refused to pull any punches after watching his team humbled by Yeovil Town.
On a night when Chesterfield fired six past Colchester at the Proact Stadium, Stephen Arthurworrey scored the only goal of the game as the Glovers, bottom of the League One table and already consigned to relegation, recorded a shock victory at Huish Park.
Fifth-placed United remain on course to qualify for play-offs - they are eight points clear of Rochdale in seventh with three matches of their season left - but Clough told The Star last night’s result should serve as a wake-up call to his squad ahead of this weekend’s derby against Bradford City.
“It comes from within,” he said. “The individual and showing exactly how much you really want it. That’s why you see someone like John Brayford out there shining like a beacon. He covered more ground than probably anyone else out there and that pitch because he was trying to drive people on.
“There’s nothing to be gained from going overboard or singling out individuals. Because, with the exception of John, it was a group thing out there.”
Clough, whose frustration was compounded by the sight of Steven Davies (foot) and Ryan Flynn (hamstring) being withdrawn due to injury before half-time, added: “Yes, they looked mentally and physically tired out there which, to a degree, is understandable. But we said to them during the break that it doesn’t matter how mentally or physically tired you are, just go out there and get a result.
“Even if it had been 0-0 then, although we’d have got all this negative stuff again, it would have kept the unbeaten run going and that would have seen us go nine points clear.”
“Losing Ryan and Steven didn’t help but we still had the chances to win the game and should have done better.
“The only consolation is most of the others losing. But that makes it even more disappointing because that was a chance to effectively put things to bed. Now there’s a lot more riding on the final three.”