A frustrated Darren Sarll was left in disbelief as Boro went down 4-2 at home to Colchester.
“We were far too open all game. There wasn’t enough cohesion defensively with our shape but the most disappointing thing for me - and something I haven’t labelled at the players before - was a real lack of desire in both boxes.
“That is something I can’t stand for. When your team lacks desire, there needs to be a consequence to that lack of performance and there will be."
Boro got off a nightmare start, going down 2-0 early on and despite sparking hope by bringing it back to 2-2, Colchester snatched the points late in the game.
“We have shown over the course of 23 games that we can work from a set-back, like today going two down and getting back to 2-2. We have got that in us but if you go two down at home, there is a real tactical or emotional reason why you have got there in the first place.
“We left ourselves far too much to do and even when we got back to 2-2, we were clutching at straws. It was a game where we needed to be organised and very, very committed physically. I don’t think we showed those traits today.
“That is an observation we have got to change because no Stevenage side should have a soft underbelly.
“Today we looked soft every time the ball went in and around our area.”
With the next challenge only 48 hours away, there is no time to sulk as the squad travel to face Doncaster on Monday.
“The players owe me, themselves and the supporters a reaction.
“I can’t stand for a team of mine not doing the less pleasurable things in play and we didn’t do that today.
“The players owe everyone at the football club because that is not the fruit of my labour. It is important that we all discuss, analyse properly and from tomorrow we do what we need to in order to beat Doncaster.”