Richie Barker launched a scathing attack on his Pompey players in the wake of their 5-1 battering at Scunthorpe and fumed: You don’t have enough desire.
The Blues boss, who had already made it clear he is looking to make big changes to his squad in the summer, pointed the finger at players he believes are not working hard enough or showing the right commitment to the cause.
And although it’s a risky ploy in attempting to get the best out of his team over the remainder of the season, Barker has made it clear he wants to bring in more of his own men – even though he has already drafted in eight new players since his appointment.
‘Are they lacking in mental desire? It looks that way to me,’ said Barker.
‘Being able to pass it and control it is a minimum requirement.
‘All the rest of the stuff that comes with it is massively important.
‘And in terms of what comes with it, some of them just haven’t got it.
‘You’ve got to do it week in, week out – and they can’t.
‘Some people have got it and some people haven’t.
‘And we need to find people who have.
‘Some people won’t be here in the summer.
‘In terms of the long term, to be successful you need people who can do it for 50 games.
‘We haven’t. We’ve got people who do it every now and again and that’s not enough.
‘There’s a reason why they can’t win back-to-back games. Unfortunately, they think they are better than they are.
‘One or two people need to have a good look at themselves.’
While Barker felt let down by the performance of his players on Saturday, he insisted he is not surprised that his methods are not getting through.
He said: ‘No, it doesn’t surprise me, really, because what I saw when I came in wasn’t good.
‘What we inherited wasn’t great, so it was never just all of a sudden going to become alright. We are papering over cracks.
‘To a certain extent, I feel let down.
‘But I think the players pretty much know that they’ve let themselves, the club and the supporters down. It doesn’t really matter whether they’ve let me down because I’m big enough and ugly enough to look after myself.
‘My over-riding feeling is one of disappointment, but not surprise.’
Barker also believes some of his players could yet find themselves without a club and looking for a new job, unless they show their potential.
He said: ‘Some of these players will just fizzle out of the game.
‘With 10 minutes to go, I saw Scunthorpe were still picking up second balls and still chasing lost causes.
‘We’ve probably got one or two players who think they are too good to do that.
‘We were outworked and outfought by Scunthorpe all over the pitch.’