HEAD coach Luke Williams has hit out at the commitment of members of his Swindon Town squad as they fight to avoid relegation from League One.
Town fell seven points from safety following this last night's 4-2 defeat at home to leaders Sheffield United and Williams blasted the heart of several of his players in the aftermath of the game.
Goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux and wing-backs Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill and James Brophy were all left out of the squad to face the Blades as Williams questioned whether or not they are behind the club’s battle to beat the drop.
“There is a problem, I believe, with people not preparing properly for a turnaround from a game on Saturday that we lost, to a game against the best team on a Tuesday night,” said Williams.
“It’s no time for anyone to be doing anything other than rest, recover and focus on the game.
“We lost to the two teams below us before this game. Yes, we played well at times and maybe we deserved more but we didn’t get more and we lost.
“Then we are playing the best team in the division and people are not looking after themselves and being prepared; it’s not acceptable for me and certainly not good enough for the Swindon fans.
“I know I come under fire and there is a lot of criticism. I have got no problem with that. I am a big boy and I understand that because the results are not good enough.
“More importantly, I can at least sleep at night and say: ‘yes, they criticise me but at least I am giving everything I can’.
“There are some in the changing room that will hold their head up and say they are trying everything to live their life responsibly to show respect to the fans. If you are not doing that, for this moment, I need to take you out.
“You are below the dotted line. You might as well be bottom of the league – it makes no difference.
“Knuckle down, show more, sacrifice, give up some things, give every single part of you to the cause. Then, if you are not good enough, it’s part of life, but to not try is not fair on the people that watch us.”
On the pitch, Williams was left to rue individual errors for the defeat to the Blades.
A poor Fankaty Dabo back-pass allowed Caolan Lavery to break the deadlock before Keiron Freeman made it 2-0.
Two goals in seven second-half minutes from Charlie Colkett and Ben Gladwin brought Town level but the comeback was cut short when an error from goalkeeper Will Henry allowed Jay O’Shea to put the Blades back in front. Paul Coutts then added gloss to the scoreline with a stoppage-time penalty.
Williams said: “It is a real shame because we did so many good things but there were a couple of big mistakes and it’s very hard to accept.”