Stags boss Paul Cox slammed his ‘lacklustre’ players for gifting Tranmere Rovers a first half two-goal lead and lacking ‘desire, hunger and application’ as they crashed out of the Capital One Cup 2-0 at Prenton Park tonight.
“I know people will think I am being a bit harsh as we were away to a good League One club, but I am not happy losing two football matches on the trot and some players need to quickly wake up and join the party,” he said.
“We can’t keep giving teams a two-goal lead before we start. We are not going to win many matches if we defend like that.
“Both were really sloppy goals again.
“I thought we had a better second half. But I am not accepting that first half.
“I don’t know if one or two of them are still subconsciously thinking about the championship medal around their necks. But that is history now. It’s chip paper. I am only concerned about what happens in the future and I will ring the changes if I have to.
“It sounds horrible but they have to start to understand what is ahead of us. We have to get real now if we want to be successful.
He added: “The shining light tonight was the two boys up front (Sam Clucas and Ollie Palmer) who did show the desire, hunger and application I am asking for.
“If they carry on like they are progressing both will make a living at a high standard of the game.
“Chances didn’t drop for them, but once they click they are going to be a real handful for opponents.
“I also thought Lindon (Meikle) worked his heart out tonight and it will have done him the world of good. And Ritchie Sutton was absolutely immaculate in the second half – the best defender on the pitch by a country mile.
“He takes a bit of stick from certain quarters at times but he did what I want defenders to do and gave me a clean sheet in the second half.”