Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander issued a call for consistency after a miserable first hour in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Wigan.
Town were two down by the time they started playing at the DW, though their fightback was not enough to salvage a point.
Wigan season ticket holder Jordan Flores marked his first start for the club in spectacular fashion to open the scoring after Jimmy Ryan misplaced a pass in the Fleetwood half.
Michael Jacobs made it two just a minute after half-time following sloppy defending from the visitors.
The introduction of David Ball and Nick Haughton changed the game and Tyler Forbes’ goal gave Fleetwood hope.
But they were unable to haul themselves level, Ball going closest with a blocked effort four minutes into injury-time.
Alexander was left fuming by the opening hour, which put his side in an almost impossible position.
He said: “We didn’t compete at the level we’d expect for the first 55 minutes. By then you’re 2-0 down and it’s a hill to climb.
“The players did their best to do that and came close, but we’d already put ourselves on the back foot with our performance level in the first 55 minutes.”
Town have made a habit of late conceding soft goals from simple errors – Ryan’s sloppy pass sold Amari’i Bell short for the first goal.
And Alexander made it clear such basic mistakes have to stop. He added:”No matter what you do, if you’re going to give goals away you’re going to put yourselves in trouble.
“It’s not the first time, so it’s something we really have to work hard on.
“There was never any danger last week when we conceded (in the home draw with Bradford) and there was never any danger on Saturday.
“The second one has come straight after half-time. It’s just massively disappointing 55 minutes but we have to make sure we work with these players to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
“Football is about making as few mistakes as possible. Right now we’re getting punished for every single one but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves.
“If we do we’re only going to compound the feelings. We’ll just work as hard as we can to be ready for the next game.”
One sign of encouragement was the reaction in the Fleetwood changing room after the game. Alexander insists none of his players tried to make excuses for the result or performance.
Even so, he issued a stark ‘must do better’ reminder.
“It’s not what they expect from themselves,” said the Fleetwood boss. “There are no lads in there kidding themselves that was good enough. That’s a positive for me.
“They’re not pretending they’ve played well or competed well for the first period of the game. It’s not just me or Chris (assistant boss Lucketti) – it’s everybody in that changing room.
“They know we weren’t competing or playing at the level we expect. We expect better of them.
“Once we got a grip and started believing in ourselves we were a different team. We just ran out of time at the end.”
It was only when Alexander turned to his bench that Fleetwood’s fortunes changed.
The manager admitted he was tempted to switch things around much earlier but wanted to give the 11 who started the game the chance to turn it round themselves.
And the message to those men was clear - make your mark or lose your place.
“I was tempted to change before half-time,” said Alexander, “but I wanted to be patient with that group of players and see if we could sort it out.
“The second goal was a killer blow. We had to change things.
“It was no good just sticking with a formula if it wasn’t working. We brought players on who changed the game in our favour.
“That’s the positive – we do have players who can come on and change the perspective of a game.
“But we don’t want to be relying on players coming on to make an impact. The players who start a game have to make an impact.
“We’re finding there’s a bit of a lack of consistency with some people at the moment.
“We know they’re young and we talk about all that, but the game is now and winning is now.
“We can’t wait six months. We have to start playing to our full potential, producing performances and winning games.”