Johnnie Jackson criticised his AFC Wimbledon players after they slipped to a 10th consecutive match without a win following a 1-0 defeat at home to Sky Bet League Two strugglers Crawley.
Ashley Nadesan grabbed the only goal of the game after just five minutes, tapping home James Tilley’s cross to earn the visitors their first away win of the season.
Dons offered little in the way of reply, with Ali Al-Hamadi’s header which went high and wide the closest they came to scoring.
“I thought it was a poor performance from ourselves,” said Jackson. “I need more from a lot of these lads.
“It is well documented that we have a lot of injuries, but not enough of the boys are stepping up to the plate.
“I haven’t got the luxury of making wholesale changes but if I could, I would after seeing that today.
“In this run, the mood within the group has been really positive and that’s why I have always defended them and not hung them out to dry, but today is a tougher one because for the first time we didn’t perform and got what we deserved.
“I thought the performance levels have been really good but today I can’t say that; we were well below par.
“We lacked an energy and a bravery about our play, there was an anxiousness that I didn’t like.”
Three points for Crawley moved them out of the relegation zone after Hartlepool’s 2-2 draw with Bradford in the early kick-off.
And manager Scott Lindsey revealed he sent his players out knowing the opportunity on offer to them if they could earn a first three points of the season on the road.
“The players went out with that little bit of energy knowing that Hartlepool had dropped two points,” said Lindsey.
“I don’t think we played particularly well, it wasn’t easy on the eye, but at this stage of the season a win is a win and we need those desperately, so we will take it.
“It wasn’t a spectacle, but the lads dug deep and had a real fighting spirit. I’m really proud of every one of them.”
The visitors were roared on by a healthy away contingent as they made it two wins on the spin following last week’s 3-1 victory against Harrogate, and Lindsey paid tribute to the travelling faithful who saw their first win at the 19th time of asking.
“I thought they were brilliant throughout, they never stopped singing,” he added. “They pay their money, and we want to give them something to go away with and the players certainly did that today.
“We certainly gained a lot of confidence from last week. We felt really confident going into this game and we were fully aware of what we had to do.”
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