Glenn Ferguson labelled his Ballymena United players’ start to Saturday’s Danske Bank Premiership defeat by Cliftonville as “unacceptable”.
The Sky Blues were three goals down inside the first 23 minutes and although they battled back to 3-2, they eventually succumbed to James Knowles’ late goal for the Reds.
“We only started playing when we were 3-0 down,” fumed Ferguson.
“The boys were shell-shocked and at that stage it looked as though it was going to be another six or seven day.
“To their credit they got two goals back and could have had more but it’s unacceptable the way we gave the goals away in the first 20 minutes.
“We thought we had a penalty when Allan Jenkins was booked for simulation. Just because it’s not a penalty, Jenks has taken a knock and gone down, that doesn’t mean to say it’s a dive either.
“So many bookings are given out nowadays - there wasn’t a bad tackle in the game yet there were nine yellow cards. There is obviously no contact in the game at all nowadays - it’s disheartening at times.
“We’ve had three tough away games in a row and we don’t seem to have any problems scoring - it’s at the other end where we really need to switch on.
“Some of the boys were tired after playing on a heavy pitch the Shield but when you get it back to 3-2, momentum and adrenaline should carry you through.
“Tiredness a lot of the time is in the head more than the legs because they had Thursday night off,” added Glenn.