Paul Holland says he expects better from his young players than what he saw in Boxing Day’s 7-0 hammering at Mickleover Sports - but believes he can only get so far with such a youthful side.
The heavy defeat was the worst Ilkeston FC have suffered since their reformation in 2010 and saw them five down by half-time.
A report from the game can be found here
It leaves Ilkeston five points from safety in the Evo-Stik Premier Division, and though humiliated by the result, Holland still wants his players to respond with similar performances to some shown in recent games.
He said: “We’re expecting youngsters to do a man’s job. Mickleover have three players with vast league experience and that makes a big difference.
“However, the players we’ve got all say and believe they’re good enough to play at this standard and they’ve got to show it. There are mitigating circumstances, but we’ve got to be better than that.
“Out of the seven goals, five were from set pieces or within ten seconds of one. Our biggest player was probably the same size as their smallest. So I had some harsh words for the players and it’s up to them as to how they respond.
“It’s difficult to talk about straight away - I’ve never had a defeat like that in my career - but there’s no point in moping about, things aren’t going to change and we’ve got a difficult game on January 2 against Matlock to prepare for.
“We’ve got to try and compete like we did against Whitby and Marine. We need a result on the board whether it’s a draw or a win.”
Holland admits his hands are largely tied when it comes to the kind of side he can pick, but is adamant he won’t walk away from his role.
He said: “There’s no way I’d quit. I wanted the job and brought experience into the club at the start of the season but that experience has since moved on elsewhere.
“I can’t fault the lads’ effort but we have to put it to the back of our heads and see it as a huge kick up the backside on several levels.
“The embargo was lifted but we could still only register young players from within the club, some of whom featured today. As always I’ll go home and consider whether I could have done anything better, but to be honest it’s difficult given what is at my disposal.
“The fans have been magnificent again in difficult circumstances. It does hurt, this was probably one of my worst days in football either as player or coach, but you have to scrub yourself down and keep going.”