Dennis Wise, the new Leeds United manager, admitted he was left with feelings of disappointment and anger at his side's capitulation at Preston North End in just his second game in charge.
Such is the size of the task ahead of Wise in saving Leeds from relegation to League One that the former Chelsea and England midfielder has already warned his underachieving players that he will wield the axe at the first opportunity because they are playing for their futures but letting the club down.
Goals from Danny Dichio, Danny Pugh, David Nugent and Lewis Neal made David Healy's late strike for the visitors nothing more than a consolation and helped the home side to maintain second place and an unbeaten home record this season.
The difference in class was huge, but so was the difference in attitude and application and this is what appears to be troubling Wise the most. Considering these qualities helped to define Wise's playing career, he will not stand for such failings.
"I've had the opportunity to watch three games now and that performance is not what I want," the manager said. "It's not enough and I've let the players know. We might need to bring in some fresh faces because the feeling is we need more competition.
"We don't have a massive squad and we have players that will always play. This has to change because I'm very disappointed. I need to know if the players are going to give me what I expect. I'm not too pleased because I don't expect to be three goals down.
"We are going to have to work with what we've got at the moment and try and make it happen.
"It's a difficult situation but they have got to play for their futures, pride and club because this is a massive club that expects certain standards of playing."
The only concern for Wise's counterpart, Paul Simpson, is how to hold on to Nugent when the transfer window re-opens. At this rate, there will be a queue of clubs wanting to sign him.
Simpson said: "That's what David Nugent's all about, but there's no point me losing sleep over someone coming in for him. There's nothing I can do about that. He showed what a really hot property he is, but we won't give him up without a fight."
Preston North End (4-4-2): Nash; Alexander, St Ledger, Chilvers, Hill; Whaley, Sedgwick, McKenna, Pugh (Neal, 78); Dichio, Nugent (Ormerod, 85). Substitutes not used: Lonergan, McCormack, Wilson.
Leeds United (4-4-2): Stack; Kelly, Butler, Kilgallon, Lewis; Moore (Horsfield, 50) Westlake, Derry, Johnson (Blake, 49); Cresswell, Healy. Substitutes not used: Warner, Richardson, Foxe.
Referee: A Marriner (W Midlands).Reuse content