Ballymena United manager Glenn Ferguson has said his side needs to “grow up” and stop making game-costing mistakes.
The Sky Blues manager delivered a scathing summation of his side’s 3-1 midweek defeat by Glentoran - a result which stretches Ballymena’s record to just three victories in their last 19 Danske Bank Premiership games.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s home game against bottom side Institute (3pm), Ferguson has warned his players that they “need to learn the ugly side of the game” or risk losing their place in the team.
“Against Glentoran we gave ourselves a mountain to climb again, 2-0 down after 10 or 15 minutes,” said Ferguson.
“The players really need to grow up now, stop making the mistakes and learn when to play the balls they’re playing.
“We can’t keep conceding goals and then try to recover from it because it’s near impossible to do.
“If we had replicated the desire, effort and commitment we had put in at Cliftonville we would have won the Glentoran game but we didn’t do that,
“We seem to think ‘give the good players the ball and something will happen’ but there’s more to being a good Irish League footballer than that.
“You need to have the ‘ugly’ side of your game as well which makes the complete Irish League player.
“Some of our players have to learn about that and learn quickly or, ultimately, they won’t be playing in the team.
“Some people have to be prepared to take a hit and put their body on the line and go the extra mile to win a game and I feel at this moment in time there are some of our players who aren’t doing that.
“We prepare for every game in the same way, we’re meticulous in what we do.
“We still take responsibility but once the players go out across the white line, when they make mistakes we can’t be held accountable 100 per cent for them.
“Sometimes they try things that don’t come off or things they shouldn’t be trying and we have been punished for them on a number of occasions.
“Some day the penny will drop and they won’t take those chances, play the percentage game, put the ball into the opposition’s final third and go and press them rather than trying to play out of danger areas,” added Ferguson.