Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton held his hand up and said the 3-0 defeat at Gillingham was his fault, and he stressed changes will be made for the FA Cup tie at non-league Alfreton on Sunday.
READ MORE: Fleetwood punished for missed chances at Gillingham
Brandon Hanlan pounced on a poor back pass by Ash Eastham to open the scoring in the 11th minute. Tom Eaves then netted twice to clinch the points for the Gills.
And after naming the same starting side that defeated Blackpool 3-2 last time out, Barton admitted he might have been too loyal to some. The Town boss stuck with a back four but says his gut told him to go for a three.
Barton said it was a big learning curve for himself as a manager and he plans changes for Town’s first- round tie against the National League North side in Derbyshire.
He said: “We have got bodies coming back. No doubt there will be a few lads who put themselves up for selection.
“There will be a few lads that started on Saturday who will lose their place in the team because the lads sitting on the bench and lads who aren’t here deserve an opportunity.
“I said to a few of the lads in there – I’ve been a bit loyal.
“If I’d trusted my gut this week I think we’d have won the game. But it is difficult to change a team when you win against your local rivals.
“Because we had not(previously) had the opportunity to name the same team and have that continuity any football team craves, we have kept faith with lads that probably have been slightly off-par in the last few weeks.
“The result now puts that into focus. The coaching staff are all for continuity but my gut felt a couple had to come out of the firing line and we should have made changes.
“Sometimes the right time to change is when you are at the top of your game. Everyone thinks you make changes when you lose but sometimes the best time is when you are winning, especially if it improves the team.
“I’m learning all the time. I’m learning that most of the time my gut has been not far away. I’m learning to trust my instinct a little bit more.
“This is my first rodeo. It is all new to me but I do have a really interesting journal I have been keeping and I reflect upon the thoughts this week.
“What I was thinking has transpired. I wanted to play a back three because I felt we’d beat them with a back three.
“But coming off two not- bad performances to the top two and beating Blackpool, I should have changed because we would have won the game comfortably if I’d played a back three. That is on me.
“But there are players sent out there in the formation, and with the work we have done they should be good enough to execute it.
“I don’t like singling out individuals for criticism. I take the responsibility for that.
“It is my job to select the team and the tactics, so the ultimate responsibility lies with me.
“The reason we got beat on Saturday was my fault.”
Barton believes too many of his players believed their own positive publicity after the 3-2 win over Blackpool.
He said: “It was like after the Lord Mayor’s Show in the first half.
“I think too many players might have just been guilty of believing some of the hype and press about themselves.
“If that was the case they were brought down to earth with a bump in the first 45 minutes.
“But we are progressing and we have to dust ourselves down. We have an FA Cup tie to win next Sunday.”