MARK Cooper questioned the desire of some of his Swindon Town players after they limped to a 1-0 home defeat to Oldham Athletic on Saturday.
Missing Yaser Kasim, Jay McEveley, Alex Pritchard and Ryan Mason, Town never got into any kind of rhythm against an unexceptional Oldham side and ended up with nothing to show for their efforts after Jonathan Grounds secured the Latics all three points with his 73rd-minute winner.
In his post-match media briefing, Cooper highlighted an absence of grit and determination in the Robins’ ranks.
“We made some changes with Wednesday, being sensible about it, but the team we picked had more than enough to win today,” he said.
“It’s taught me that one or two players are able to talk a good game but can’t follow it up on the pitch.
“On days like that you have to roll your sleeves up and grind a result out and we didn’t do that. We started playing when we were 1-0 down. If we’d have played the rest of the game like we did the last 15 minutes we probably would have won.
“The lack of desire was the frustrating thing. It was more a day for grinding out a result. We manage to do that against Peterborough, Shrewsbury and Coventry but we didn’t do that today.
“As a club we have chosen to play a certain way. Sometimes, and especially on days like today, it doesn’t work and we have to be patient, we have to wait because it’s a project, it’s a work in progress and it will take time.”
Town will have the chance to make amends when they visit Peterborough United in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy southern section area final first leg on Wednesday and Cooper thinks the possibility of earning a place at Wembley should be all the motivation his players need.
“They’ve got a carrot of getting to Wembley,” he said. “They’ve got two games to get themselves to Wembley and if that’s not enough then I don’t know what is.”