Chesterfield players spent an hour today holding each other accountable, but crucially in Jack Lester’s eyes, not throwing blame around.
The Spireites held a team meeting in which they discussed solutions to their current form and predicament.
On Tuesday Town were beaten 3-2 by Cambridge United with the last kick of the game, suffering a third straight defeat at the Proact.
According to the manager, today’s meeting allowed the squad to clear the air openly and honestly, without pointing fingers.
“We’ve had a big discussion today, the players led on that, it was good to hear their insights, holding each other accountable on standards and things like that,” said Lester.
“A lot of people spoke up.
“It wasn’t confrontational, everyone was very honest.
“It can’t be a blame culture, we’ve got to be looking at solutions.
“I think blame culture is big in England, where really you’ve got to be looking at solutions, looking at yourself, not just me, players looking at their jobs, everyone and being honest about what’s required and not hiding from it.
“That will take character.”
One of the issues discussed today was the lack of pressing against Cambridge.
It was a world away from the hassling and harrying the Spireites did during their six-game unbeaten run in November.
Lester said it certainly wasn’t part of the plan to sit off the U’s.
“We spoke about it today,” he said.
“I don’t think we’ve been able to get on the training pitch as much as we’d like and you play like you train.
“But the players said they still felt fit.
“I think it was a little bit of anxiety.
“I think we’ve addressed that.
“It wasn’t a conscious decision, it’s not the information going out.
“They play a diamond and we didn’t drop onto the four quickly enough, he was the deepest midfielder and spoke about needing to lock that side of the pitch and I don’t think we did.
“When the four picked the ball up he was able to play forward a little bit unopposed.
“We spoke about that tactically today, about why that wasn’t done to the letter, as we’d asked, holding people accountable to that role.
“I think that was key to us not being able to put pressure on the ball, we didn’t quickly drop into the shape we’d talked about to pick up the deep midfielder, which meant they could then start to dictate play and that meant that because there was no pressure we dropped 10 yards because you have to protect the space behind when you haven’t got pressure on the football.
“That’s why it looked like we were on the back foot a little bit because we were having to drop, because the four wasn’t dealt quickly enough.”
The meeting left Lester with the feeling that the players know what they need to do to haul Chesterfield out of the drop zone in the final 14 games of the season.
“I really got a sense of a determination from the players.
“The players were telling each other what they had to demand from each other.
“I do see a focus with them.
“I think we’re very close to turning that corner.
“I do feel we’re going to go on a good run soon.”