Craig Stanley insists the players must take a fair share of the blame following the departure of Phil Brown as Lancaster City boss.
The ex-Dolly Blues chief fell on his sword on Saturday after the club exited the FA Cup – losing 2-0 to lower league opposition Trafford at Giant Axe.
It was City’s sixth defeat in seven games, they lost their opening five games in the NPL Premier Division before drawing 1-1 with derby rivals Bamber Bridge.
That result last Tuesday week had given Brown heart that his men could turn things around, but the performance and result against Trafford was the final straw.
Veteran central defender Stanley – who arrived at the club this summer as player-coach – has, for the moment, been placed in temporary control of first-team affairs alongside fellow player Matty Blinkhorn – another summer recruit.
They have been tasked with trying to get the club’s first win on the board – something they were unable to do on Tuesday night when they lost 2-0 away at league leaders South Shields.
While interested in taking the job on a permanent basis should the opportunity arise, Stanley admits he was hugely disappointed to see Brown leave.
“As a team and as players, we have let Phil down,” Stanley said.
“We haven’t performed as well as we should have done.
“The results and performances have not been good enough and that has led to Phil leaving.
“So obviously I am disappointed. He brought me to the club and I was looking forward to learning from his as acoach.
“I am disappointed that he has left so early.
“As players we need to take responsibility. We did not reach the levels that we should have done and the performances have not been good enough.
“I’d like to thank Phil for bringing me to the club.”
Former Morecambe stalwart Stanley – who played a large part of his career in the Football League – has made no secret of his ambition to move into management.
Indeed the 35-year-old made the move to Giant Axe to get coaching experience as well as play.
He is hopeful of taking the job on a permanent basis and is looking impress chairman Stuart Houghton.
“That’s the plan,” Stanley said. “It’s one of my ambitions to get into management. It’s what I want to do.
“I did not expect it to come so early.
“It’s on a caretaker basis at the moment. I think me and Blinks have a week or two.
“It‘s a good opportunity and good experience.
“I’ve just got to see how it goes and go from there.
“Hopefully the team can improve and we can get some results.”
Stanley was pleased with the way City performed on Tuesday in what was certainly a baptism of fire for the new joint managers.
The North East side have begun the season well but were frustrated for large parts of the match before eventually prevailing thanks to two goals in the final 24 minutes.
“I thought we performed well on Tuesday night,” said Stanley.
“I could not really have asked for much more especially considering the amount of preparation we had going into the match.
“South Shields were the best footballing team I have come up against this season so far.
“They have got some quality footballers, but we frustrated them for a large part of it and we created chances; Blinks hit the bar.
“Overall I was happy with the performance and hopefully we can build on that for Saturday.”
North Ferriby United visit Giant Axe this weekend and it is a game which City must look to win.
United are third from bottom in the table having won just once since being relegated from the National League North.
“We are not going to come up against teams like South Shields every week in terms of the players and the quality they have,” Stanley said.
“But North Ferriby will be tough, they have just come down from the National League North, so will still have some quality players. We need to make Giant Axe an hard place to come and play.”
Squad wise, Ben Hudson and Steve Williams will be available this weekend and Tom Baker is set to return to training tonight.