He held them back in the dressing room for 45 minutes after a game in which they could have lost by a far greater margin.
And he did not hold back on his thoughts to the media, saying: “It hurts as this was a football club I managed and started my managerial career.
“I took them from being relegated to a play-off final where we got beaten on penalties.
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“Within that short space of time there were a lot of changes from a relegated team to one in a play-off final.
“Every club I go back to I want to do well at and today I feel let down as players didn't put in the hard yards.
“I pride myself on being honest, up front and transparent as a representative of the football club.
“So, with that comes the necessity to be honest and that group of players in there, as a collective, need a lot of work doing to go on the journey to where this club has aspirations to go.
“There is a softness about the group that needs to change.
“If players are not able to consistently put performances in, they won't go on that journey with us.”
He continued: “They will have to find another football club to go and put in mediocre, average performances that they feel are acceptable.
“If you have got players that can't do the simple things repeatedly well and don't value the importance of doing the simple things you can't move forward.
“It's quite easy for players to look down and disappointed with sad eyes. It doesn't impress me or blag me either.
“You should show disappointment out there over the 90 minutes, not in the changing room where it's easy. We have a changing room saying all the right things, but they don't do them.
“Wherever I've been I am accountable for the players and I never hide behind it or shy away from it.
“When players do well I make sure they get all the credit. When things don't go well it's me. That's a deal I like as I know I improve players.”
The win saw Mansfield leapfrog Oldham and Curle said changes were needed for next season.
“I know what needs to be done and I am not afraid of change,” he said.
“I have improved every single club I have been at.
“There is a lot at this club that doesn't need changing. The structure of the club is very good. But some things do need to change.
“If you keep doing the same things and expect results it's a sign of lunacy.”