Craig Hignett will not publicly criticise individual Hartlepool United players but admitted the squad have been read the riot act.
Pools sank without trace at Stevenage in League Two on Saturday – the first time they have conceded six in two years.
I tell people where they stand and not where they stand in their own minds.
Hignett would not reveal what he told the players in the dressing room at Broadhall Way in the aftermath of the 6-1 hiding but said he had let them know what he thought.
“I can’t tell you what I’ve said to them, that stays in house,” he said.
“They know exactly what I think of it, what members of staff think of it and what each other thinks of it, but publically slating the players? I won’t do that.
“But between us, they know.
“I say what I think – I tell people where they stand and not where they stand in their own minds.”
Hignett was angry that the team ethos he holds so dear seemed to disappear into the turf at Broadhall Way after being crushed by goals by Tyler Walker (2), Tom Pett, Dean Wells, Michael Tonge and Matt Godden.
“The manner of the goals and lack of effort was hard to take,” said the manager.
“The attitude of certain individuals, looking after themselves wasn’t right.
“We’re a team and that’s the message, the team comes first, it always has been the case.
“[On Saturday] six or seven individuals were looking after themselves and that’s not acceptable.”
He added: “I’m not going slag anyone off individually, but I don’t know what we are thinking of [for the goals].
“Game management was zero – brains zero, it was tough to watch.”
Ironically, Pools led in the fourth minute through Nathan Thomas and enjoyed long periods in possession.
However, individual errors cost Pools as Pett and Walker gave Stevenage a 2-1 half-time advantage and the second half was a complete disaster.
“First-half we were all right, we scored early and knocked the ball about,” he told SportMail.
“The first two goals were embarrassing.
“Second-half I said to the lads ‘the game is there for us, knock it about show a bit of enthusiasm and you will be all right’.
“We did the opposite and you can’t defend like that.
“How many came from set-pieces? Balls over the top and mistakes?
“If you are in any doubt as a defender, put your foot through the ball, decisions cost us.”