David Flitcroft thinks Mansfield let themselves down after a 2-1 home defeat by Crewe saw them drop out of the top three promotion places.
Flitcroft criticised their work rate and energy as a Callum Ainley double in the final 19 minutes sealed victory with Krystian Pearce’s stoppage time reply too late for the Stags.
“They have let themselves down today as a group. They have not run for each other on and off the ball,” said Flitcroft.
“It wasn’t a team performance today. It was too many individuals playing like individuals and that’s not been us this season.
“That appetite that has been there for most of the season was missing today.
“There was no willingness to run for each other and get in positive positions.
“We were missing that verve and that intent.”
He continued: “The back three have been brilliant all season but they were two disappointing goals to concede today.
“When that happens you want someone else to bail you out at that point and I thought it came back too easy from the top of the pitch. We didn’t really lay a glove on them.”
There were few chances in a tight game, but substitute Ainley broke through within nine minutes of coming off the bench as he turned well eight yards out and drilled a low finish under Jordan Smith.
Six minutes form time he then fired in his second across Smith from the right after fellow sub Tommy Lowery took advantage of a slip by home skipper Pearce to break on goal and set up Ainley.
In the second added minute Pearce halved the arrears with a scrappy effort from a corner, forcing the ball over the line from close range from a scramble.
Crewe boss Dave Artell, back at his former club, was delighted, saying: “I thought that was our best performance of the season – not in terms of goals and the margin of victory – but I thought we were terrific,” he said.
“I thought we thoroughly deserved the victory and we were the better team throughout the game.
“I thought we had energy when we needed energy, I thought we had men when we needed men and skill when we needed skill.
“Our game plan worked today. We said after 60 minutes: ‘Mansfield will blow up’.
“We felt the longer we stayed in the game at 0-0 the more likely we were to win it and that is how it’s panned out.
“We could hear their manager absolutely bawling his head off at half-time and we said if we can weather another 15 minutes you can play your football and they won’t get near you then.”