Mark Shaw blasted his Worksop Town players’ performance, desire and commitment after losing 3-2 at home to title rivals Handsworth Parramore.
The manager questioned his ability to bring about improvements when players were missing training sessions, but admitted Handsworth deserved the points.
“The opposition wanted it more,” he said.
“That’s a big issue for us. It boils down to players’ desire to be at the football club. We’ve got players not turning up for training.
“Conor Sellars hasn’t been training since pre-season. People want to know why he’s not playing. Because he doesn’t know what we’re doing, doesn’t know the tactics. He’s the highest paid player and he doesn’t turn up training. He’s not the only one. There’s three or four who don’t come. I’m fighting a losing battle.
“It’s about desire, hunger and wanting to be successful. I try to get that across to the players but if they don’t want to train, we can’t get better. We’ve tried to fine them, we’ve tried to put it on them but they’re not bothered.
“If I can’t get them to train, I can’t get them to work on the things we need to.”
Shaw insisted that the derby game was not lost in the tactics or playing philosophy, but it was down to the players on the pitch.
“We change things, tweak things but I don’t think from a tactical side we could have done better. The opposition wanted it more, they’re not a better football team than us but they wanted it more and that’s the problem,” he said.
“When we play against big teams, most of them press us and we fold and we get worried and we don’t play. It’s very frustrating. We want to be a good footballing team who pass. Do the supporters think I should all of a sudden change all the tactics and have a long ball strategy, would that suit this group of players? I don’t think it would. We’d get less joy from that.”
He conceded that the departure of Jake Scott was still hurting the midfield, and had strong words on the form of midfielder Tom Elliott, who has recently courted interest from Sheffield Wednesday and other clubs playing at a higher level.
“We know we’re missing Jake Scott, we’re missing his bite. We’ve had to bring a player in who wasn’t playing at another club. We’ve not got a major budget, there’s not an endless list of players who are going to be better than what we’ve got.
“I don’t think Tom Elliott going on trial is making him a better footballer because he’s forgotten who he plays for and what made him a good player. He’s not performing anywhere near the level he was to get him a trial. I’m now thinking I’m against him going anywhere. It’s not about Tom, it’s not about me, it’s about the football club.
“I’m not here to create a football career for them, they have to realise that. We’ve got to win football games and today we’ve not been anywhere near doing that.”