Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver has told his players to buck their ideas up after lamenting their Bank Holiday Monday showing at Barrow.
Town slipped to their first defeat of the season when the former Conference side edged a nervy contest 1-0 at Holker Street.
And Weaver was unimpressed by the cagey display, calling for a riskier approach when fallen giants Stockport County visit the CNG Stadium on Saturday (3pm).
Weaver cut a frustrated figure as his side had lost just 48 hours after impressively thrashing North Ferriby United 5-0 at home on Saturday (full report page 99).
The gaffer questioned his players’ desire to make themselves available for teammates off the ball.
Weaver said: “People were getting marked on purpose because they were worried.
“They didn’t demand the ball. Too many were happy to leave the man on the ball without options.
“Psychologically, people have to relax a bit more. I want them to break the shackles off.
“It was a boring game to watch. It was a non-contest.”
Weaver criticised the “unkept” pitch at Holker Street as “one of the worst in the league” but still wished his players had been braver in possession.
“We have enough talent to entertain,” he added.
“It would be easy to play 4-4-2 with two big lads up top but we are giving the option for the lads to play.
“I’m an ambitious manager and have more chance in the game with an attractive team.
“But if all 11 players don’t turn up each week or if some players are a bit nervous on the ball that won’t happen.”
Midfielder Michael Woods came off the bench on his return from suspension and the boss said he is likely to start against Stockport County.
County have endured a torrid period in their history, sliding down the pyramid after years of financial trouble.
Town are expecting a bumper crowd and Weaver urged the Harrogate faithful to outnumber the travelling support.
Weaver added: “I think Stockport will come here and try to stop us playing.
“They have a lot to play for at the minute. It’s a massive club, and fanbase. Football is like a religion there. The fans will be desperate for them to succeed.
“We have had one defeat and we’re not happy. We have to want it more than them.”
lTown will visit Bradford Park Avenue in the County Cup on Monday, November 4 (7.45pm).