Michael Duff criticised his Barnsley side’s work-rate and body language during their 3-0 home loss to Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.
The Reds were on top for 35 minutes but conceded against the run of play then were poor after the break, with the visitors netting two long-range strikes.
Head coach Duff told the Chronicle: “In the first half we were the better team without being brilliant. We conceded with their first shot on target. We had a good few chances.
“But the second half was nowhere near good enough. I put an extra body in the middle to win second balls, and we didn’t win any. The most disappointing thing is Wycombe were about five years older than us on average but ran harder than us.
“They scored three worldies and probably won’t do that again this season. It might distort the scoreline but it doesn’t distort my opinion on the second half performance which I didn’t think was good enough. We didn’t work hard enough.”
Wycombe took the lead with their first real attack after newly-relegated Barnsley had missed chances.
Duff said: “I was disappointed with the reaction to going 1-0 down. The body language, the shoulders went down. There has been a big shift since last season and we’re asking a lot. Going behind, we probably reverted a bit back and you saw the underbelly. We are showing fragility from where they have been.
“Wycombe make it attritional, break play up, slow it down. But we didn’t compete in the second half. I can handle getting beat but it’s the body language which is the most frustrating.
“Wycombe looked together and we looked a little bit fractured, even at 2-0. I was shouting at them to stick together."
Captain Mads Andersen said: “They were on top of us, we played their game too much. We lost too many second balls, they did the basics better. They scored very good goals, like with their first shot. We should have scored when we were on top.
What can I say? I am disappointed.
“You cannot give, even in League One, 80 or 90 per cent. You have to give 100 per cent every time otherwise you will lose. It’s as simple as that.”
The result and performance were particularly surprising after winning by the same scoreline over Bristol Rovers four days earlier.
Duff said: “On Tuesday we had nine or ten players play really well but you get that four or five games a year.
“We did well on Tuesday but it’s one performance, we tried to drum it into them. Wycombe had come from three defeats.
“You can’t be that good on Tuesday and that poor in the second half today in the space of four or five days.
"The most important thing is we learn that just because we were good in the last game doesn’t mean we’ll be good in the next one and if we go 1-0 down against a good team it’s not the end of the road.”