Barry Ferguson questioned his players’ personal pride as Blackpool slumped to a 3-1 home defeat against Derby last night.
Wins for Millwall and Charlton mean the Seasiders are now just three points above the Championship relegation zone.
Pool took the lead after just 20 seconds, when David Goodwillie scored a stunner, but they had conceded three by the 20-minute mark.
And Ferguson emphasised just how serious Blackpool’s position now is. “The players have to realise this is their livelihoods. There has to be a personal pride,” he said.
“I want to be in the Championship. I hope the players are the same.
“The position we are in now is serious, very serious. I not going to hide away from it.
“I can only ask players to do things. It’s down to them then.
“It’s whether these boys can handle the pressure of where we are now.
“It’s easy to be up when you are at the top of the league, but when things are going against us you find out what people are made of.”
Ferguson opted for a much more attacking line-up last night, with Stephen Dobbie and Elliot Grandin returning to the starting line-up.
But it didn’t go to plan and again Ferguson was left wondering where to go from here.
He said: “The first 30 seconds were great, then we went back to typical Blackpool again. I’m stunned for words.
“I don’t want to go into great details. I’ll just leave what was said behind closed doors. I need to go back now and look at what we do.
“I tried going solid, I’ve tried going offensive and I’ve brought players in.
“I need to come up with a solution a.s.a.p. I need to seriously sit down and work out which way I’m going to go.”
Pool have just two wins to show for their last 25 games and Ferguson added: “After we scored the early goal it’s really frustrating.
“The game was probably over at half-time.”
Steve McClaren feels his third-placed Derby side now have one foot in the play-offs.
He said: “We needed a response after Saturday’s (defeat to Middlesbrough) and after going so quickly to a goal down here,” he said.
“There was a real focus and determination and it was a big win.
“Psychologically it was a huge. We’re in the business end of the season now we’re in a good and strong position.
“Performance is the key thing. And that was excellent.
“We were in total control of the first half and then it was grit and determination after half-time.
“We had real energy and there was good balance about the side.”