Newcastle Jets coach Clayton Zane has challenged the attitude of his players after Sunday afternoon's 3-2 loss to the Wellington Phoenix at Hunter Stadium.
The Jets were outplayed and out-enthused by the visiting Phoenix team who had the upper hand throughout the match and deserved to earn all three points.
First-half goals to imports Carlos Hernandez and Stein Huysegems were cancelled out by a brace from Craig Goodwin either side of half-time before youngster Jason Hicks snared the winner midway through the second half.
"Players get paid good money. Coaches get paid good money and you need to turn up. This is what you are paid to do," a disappointed Zane said after the match.
“It is a big lesson to us and it is a hard one to take because this game was very important for us to get on the road to make the six.
"There is still nine matches left, but if we can't get something out of this match, then questioned have to be asked of players and staff.
"I said to the boys at half-time, we are the ones who need to create the atmosphere . You can't turn up to the ground and expect the fans to lead the way. It starts on the park.
"We were just so slow out of the blocks, which based on our training I never thought would happen.
"To be fair to us we got back to 2-2 and I thought we got back control of the game again.
"But they (Phoenix) have some cleverness in the front third and it was always going to be a difficult one trying to control them. They are in such good and are a hard-working team, so credit to them.”
To their credit the Jets kept themselves in the contest courtesy of two great goals from Goodwin, but they were also guilty of making fundamental errors in critical areas that handed the match to Wellington.
“Unforced errors as you would call them, turning the ball over, you can't do at this level,” Zane said.
“We needed to be tidy with our passing, which is something we are usually quite good at. Today, there was way too many of them (errors). If you look at the stats you'll find you can't win of you keep turning the ball over in key areas.”
The Jets coach, who is just three matches into his senior career, indicated he will be looking at changing the line-up heading into next week's fixture with league-leading Roar in Brisbane.
"(Andrew) Hoole is suspended so that forces a change, Emile (Heskey) comes back in the picture next week, Nick Ward might not be ready for next week, so there are some changes already," he said.
"We need hungry players out there now, that is the bare minimum. It is not about who is best striker of the ball, not who is cleverest in the final third, now we need to have the mentality of the teams we played in the last three weeks; Central Coast, Wanderers and Phoenix.
"I need to manage the situation carefully. I need to make sure the players have belief. But at the same time we, as a group, staff including, need to realise the only thing that is going to get us out of this situation is hard work. If the team wants to be involved in the finals fixtures, that is the minimum requirement."
"It was a home match. We need to be a lot better on our home matches," added Zane.
"The good thing is in two weeks time we have Sydney here and we will be looking for 11 brave people to walk out there and show the fans that (performance) is not going to happen ever week."