Alfreton Town boss Billy Heath ordered his players to roll up their sleeves and work harder after a first half horror show at Altrincham saw them slump to a fourth National League North defeat in a row.
The Reds will host St Neots in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round on Saturday (3pm) with Heath’s words ringing in their ears.
They were 2-0 down after only 10 minutes of the 3-1 defeat by Altrincham and 3-0 down by the break before Richard Peniket pulled one back.
“We’ve got to roll our sleeves up now and go back to what we were doing earlier in the season - really wanting to work hard,” said Heath.
“The first 25 minutes was poor to say the least. We didn’t compete anywhere on the park. We didn’t seem to have any presence about us anywhere on the park.
“We got what we deserved. It was too easy to come through us, too easy to break on us, too easy all round. The game was more or less finished at half-time.”
He added: “Before the game the warm-up had been good. l always ask certain individuals how the warm-up had gone and they said it had gone well.
“But we just didn’t do the easy things, not passing the ball, not closing men down, not closing spaces nor just competing.
“The last four league games have been really poor, but we can turn it round.
“We’ve had a couple of FA Cup games sandwiched in that’s given us a couple of wins.”
Southern League outfit St Neots operate at a level below the Reds, but ahead of a scouting trip to run the rule over his opponents at Royston in midweek, Heath warned that, despite Saturday’s tie being at home, a win could not be taken for granted.
“The FA Cup comes up again this week and we have to be ready,” he said.
“But the League remains massively important. Whichever team starts will be given the opportunity to play.
“A home draw is paramount, but it will be a difficult game.
“If we don’t go into the game with the right mindset then there will be problems. We need to be right, we need to be better - we’ll have a good look at St. Neots in midweek.”